Recalling fall of Saigon

April 30, 2006




Poetry and music mark the 31st anniversary of the day that changed their lives.

Sunday, April 30, 2006By Frederic Pierce

Staff writer

Black-and-white slides showing the fall of Saigon were projected above six memorial candles Saturday evening, while Vietnamese lyrics from a soulful song of remembrance haunted the room.

For many of the 40 or so people gathered in the second-floor offices of the Center for New Americans, the memories of that day, 31 years ago today, were painfully real.

For others – the Syracuse sons and daughters of Vietnamese refugees who escaped to Central New York after surviving harrowing ocean voyages and years in refugee camps – the words and images were a reminder of a past they don't want to forget as they move into the future.

<A xHREF=""><IMG xSRC=""></A&gt; "Each of us has different emotions and perspectives on this day," said Ahn Nguyen, a program coordinator at the center who was a child when Saigon fell to communists two years after the pullout of U.S. troops. "We wanted an event where we could all examine our feelings."

Nguyen's band, The Home Gardens, provided the music as poetry by survivors of the fall was read and songs remembering hardships after the fall were performed by members of the local Vietnamese community. The gold flag with three red stripes of the former government of South Vietnam served as the musicians' backdrop.

The day is generally remembered privately by survivors and their families, Ahn said. For decades, it has been a somber time.

"We didn't want to dwell on just that day," Ahn said. "We wanted to remember what happened after that: the ocean crossings, prison, the re-education camps, refugee camps, coming to America for the first time. And we wanted to look to the future."

The center is a program of the InterReligious Council of Central New York.

The fall of Saigon is considered by many to be the official end of the Vietnam War, marking the day when the communist army of North Vietnam overran the capital city of the south, forcibly reuniting the country.

Frederic Pierce can be reached at or 470-6062.

2 Responses to “Recalling fall of Saigon”

  1. dan rossovich Says:

    how do i get in contact with Ahn?

  2. ltb Says:

    i know a few families that arrived here, australia, france before 1975. it’s amazing what can happen in 30 years.

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