Kent backs Vietnam `heritage flag'2004-04-22
KENT -- Quy Nguyen of Kent proudly displays his Republic of
Vietnam flag along with his family's American flag at their
East Hill home.
Kent is the first city in King County to adopt a resolution
recognizing the former flag of Vietnam as the heritage flag of
the Vietnamese community.
``It is a symbol of freedom and democracy,'' Quy said after
he, family members and others watched City Council members
unanimously approve the measure at their meeting Tuesday
The yellow banner with three red horizontal stripes now
recognized by Kent as the Vietnamese Heritage Flag is the flag
of the former Republic of Vietnam, which ceased to exist after
the fall of Saigon in 1975.
The nation is now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and its
government has asked U.S. and state officials not to recognize
the former flag.
The current Vietnamese flag is a red banner with a gold
star. Many Vietnamese refugees who fled to the United States
see the current flag as a symbol of oppression and the loss of
democracy in their homeland.
King County Council members Rob McKenna of Bellevue and
Jane Hague of Kirkland are sponsoring a similar resolution
recognizing the older flag. The measure is expected to come
before the County Council for action within a few weeks,
according to Hague's staff.
A police officer in Saigon, Quy was among thousands of
government and military personnel arrested in 1975 after
communist forces regained control of what was then South
Vietnam. Quy, now 77, served 13 years in prison, including
four years in solitary confinement and years of forced labor,
before he was freed and able to emigrate to the United
Many immigrants who also served prison terms are backing a
national effort to win recognition of the former Vietnamese
flag as the heritage flag.
Since early 2003, resolutions have been adopted by the
states of Hawaii, Louisiana and Virginia, and by 48 cities in
14 states, said Bao Bui of Tacoma, a member of the state
chapter of the Committee Honoring the Vietnamese Nationalist
Pierce County has adopted a resolution, along with seven
cities in Pierce and Thurston counties. Bao said his group is
asking city councils in Sumner and Bonney Lake to approve
Both state and King County officials received a letter from
the Vietnamese government asking that only the current red
flag with the gold star be recognized.
Kent city staff said they haven't received any
communications from the Vietnamese government.