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South Vietnamese Flag Is a Symbol of a 'Triumph Over Suffering'

March 30, 2003

Re: "Cities, Mind Your Business," editorial March 16:

The editorial misinterprets the intent of the resolutions recognizing the South Vietnamese flag. These resolutions are not intended to set foreign policy because they do not necessarily affect how the U.S. State Department conducts its business. Instead, these actions merely reflect the sentiment of the residents from the cities of Westminster and Garden Grove.

The resolutions cannot in any way threaten the Vietnamese regime or damage Vietnam-U.S. relations. The State Department should not succumb to the Communist age-old illusion that any dissenting view would threaten to topple the government. It should instead take this opportunity to inform its counterpart in Vietnam that there is a democracy in America and that the people in America can freely speak up against the will of their own government.

The U.S. Constitution does not allow the government to interfere with the citizens' rights to freedom of speech unless there is an imminent danger, a national security interest at risk or a compelling interest to be protected. Pleasing a dictatorial regime such as that of Vietnam cannot be one of such interests.

South Vietnam's flag has evoked such an intense emotion among the Vietnamese even today precisely because of what the Vietnamese government has done and continued to do to the people in the south. This flag remains the symbol of hope for a better tomorrow, provides a great comfort for those who suffered under the hand of the communist regime and symbolizes the triumph over suffering.

Best of all, it can stand up to the worst tyranny that the Vietnamese people have ever witnessed.

Lan Quoc Nguyen

Westminster

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