Remembering Saigon’s fall 40 years later

WESTMINSTER – Thousands of people converged on Little Saigon’s Sid Goldstein Freedom Park Thursday – 40 years to the day that Saigon fell to communist forces from the north – to mourn the loss of South Vietnam, remember those who died during the 20-year war and hope for a day when the government there crumbles.

The South Vietnam flag flew at half-staff. Remembrance wreaths lined the pathway leading to the Vietnam War Monument. Former soldiers wore their fatigues. Some wept.

The 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon has been a key milestone for the Vietnamese community in Orange County over the past month, known as Black April – a chance to meditate on what they lost in fleeing from Vietnam but also to cherish what they’ve built in America.

“There are mixed feelings,“ said Jo Le, 50, of Irvine. “We lost our country and miss it. But we are so lucky to be here.“

The Amerian and South Vietnamese flags fly in unison during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.  ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15  Viet.westminster.mm - MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The Amerian and South Vietnamese flags fly in unison during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15 Viet.westminster.mm – MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

A candle lighting ceremony takes place during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.  ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15  Viet.westminster.mm - MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

A candle lighting ceremony takes place during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15 Viet.westminster.mm – MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

A drone carrying the flag of South Vietnam flies over during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.  ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15  Viet.westminster.mm - MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

A drone carrying the flag of South Vietnam flies over during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15 Viet.westminster.mm – MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Performers ready themselves with makeup and a quick look in the mirror during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.  ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15  Viet.westminster.mm - MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Performers ready themselves with makeup and a quick look in the mirror during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15 Viet.westminster.mm – MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Hundreds of people watch as speakers talk during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.  ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15  Viet.westminster.mm - MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Hundreds of people watch as speakers talk during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15 Viet.westminster.mm – MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Hundreds of people listen to speakers during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.  ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15  Viet.westminster.mm - MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Hundreds of people listen to speakers during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15 Viet.westminster.mm – MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Final adjustments are made to a banner before a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.  ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15  Viet.westminster.mm - MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Final adjustments are made to a banner before a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15 Viet.westminster.mm – MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Several hundred people attend a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.  ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15  Viet.westminster.mm - MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Several hundred people attend a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15 Viet.westminster.mm – MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

As the sun dramatically sets behind, women stand on stage for a candle lighting ceremony during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.  ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15  Viet.westminster.mm - MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

As the sun dramatically sets behind, women stand on stage for a candle lighting ceremony during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15 Viet.westminster.mm – MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Ethan Chong Nguyen waves the South Vietnam flag while dressed in marine uniform during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.  ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15  Viet.westminster.mm - MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Ethan Chong Nguyen waves the South Vietnam flag while dressed in marine uniform during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15 Viet.westminster.mm – MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

A man holds a wooden map of Vietnam during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.  ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15  Viet.westminster.mm - MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

A man holds a wooden map of Vietnam during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15 Viet.westminster.mm – MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The South Vietnamese and American flags are marched down a row of dressed soldiers during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.  ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15  Viet.westminster.mm - MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The South Vietnamese and American flags are marched down a row of dressed soldiers during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15 Viet.westminster.mm – MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

A wooden map of Vietnam is placed onto a flag of South Vietnam during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.  ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15  Viet.westminster.mm - MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

A wooden map of Vietnam is placed onto a flag of South Vietnam during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15 Viet.westminster.mm – MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Performers conduct a reenactment of a scene fleeing Vietnam during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.  ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15  Viet.westminster.mm - MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Performers conduct a reenactment of a scene fleeing Vietnam during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15 Viet.westminster.mm – MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

A wooden map of Vietnam is carried onto the stage opening a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.  ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15  Viet.westminster.mm - MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

A wooden map of Vietnam is carried onto the stage opening a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15 Viet.westminster.mm – MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Khanh Le and Ethan Chong wave the American and South Vietnamese flags during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.  ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15  Viet.westminster.mm - MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Khanh Le and Ethan Chong wave the American and South Vietnamese flags during a commemoration at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :4/30/15 Viet.westminster.mm – MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/vietnam-660171-saigon-day.html

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