SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – 22News visited the heart of Springfield’s tight-knit Vietnamese community in the Forest Park neighborhood. Even though the fall of Saigon happened more than four decades ago, for some, it still feels like yesterday.
Springfield’s Mayor Domenic Sarno stood in solidarity with his city’s Vietnamese community, to mark the 42nd anniversary of the fall of Saigon. It was a fall that forced more than one million people to flee the country.
During the ceremony, the American and South Vietnamese flags were held by veterans, as they reflected on their old country, while standing by proudly in their new country.
Vietnamese-American Connecticut resident Trann told 22News he’s thankful to the people who fought for his country. He said, “Everywhere in the free world they stand up for the fight against the Communists, for freedom and human rights.”
Vietnam veteran Herby Flores told 22News, “I saw this guy and they were fighting for their own country. As a Puerto Rican, you ask the question what is a Puerto Rican doing 10,000 miles away, but it was part of the freedom, part of the thing we believe in this country.”
For some, the memories are still too painful to talk about. Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese fled Saigon and came to the U.S. looking for a better life. Springfield is now home to thousands of them.
Mayor Sarno said many Vietnamese-Americans stood with the U.S during the Vietnam War and the U.S. will continue to stand by them.