Senator Steve Dille’s Speech
National Day of Deep Resentment
Minnesota State Capitol
April 24, 2010
35th Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Minnesota State Capitol. My name is Senator Steve Dille. This is my 24th year in the legislature. I represent a district 70 miles west of here that includes the cities of Glencoe, Hutchinson, Litchfield, Dassel, Cokato, Annandale, and others.
I am here today with my wife Pamela and my oldest son Nicholas who is a captain in the United States Army and a Blackhawk helicopter pilot. I also have three other children.
I was a Civilian Veterinary Advisor during the Vietnam War. I arrived in Saigon in September 1969. I was in Vietnam for 3½ out of the five years I held the position. I left in November of 1974.
My wife and I sponsored about 30 Vietnamese refugees in 1975 and then in the 1980s and 1990s, two more families who were my old friends and employees during my time in Vietnam.
I have supported many initiatives that help Southeast Asian refugees as a state senator. The Vietnamese people have been an important part of my life for over four decades.
Thank you for all you have done in your lives to help make your native county of Vietnam and your new country in the United States of America a better place. Today we recognize the 35th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon. This is a day to remember the past.
However, I have been asked to speak about the future and how Vietnamese can become more involved in the political process.
I would suggest getting involved in local service organizations such as Rotary Club and Lions Club, participate in local party politics, try to get elected to local government positions, such as city council, township boards, school boards and county boards. And then watch for opportunities to run for the legislature, the US Congress, or other positions.
If anyone would like to visit with me more, call my office and set up an appointment. I will be happy to discuss this with you in more detail.
I’ve also been asked to describe how the Senate Resolution passed that recognized the yellow flag with three red stripes as the official flag of the Vietnamese American Community of Minnesota.
First of all the Revisor’s Office drafted the resolution and sent it to my office. I carefully selected five Senate authors who have strong connections to Southeast Asia or the military. I was the chief author and was listed as the first author. I worked in Vietnam during the war as a veterinarian and have spent the past 40 years helping Vietnamese refugees in various ways.
The second author is Senator Don Betzold, who is an attorney and retired from a 30 year career in the Army at the rank of colonel.
The third author is Senator David Hann, a Vietnam War veteran who served as a chaplain’s assistant.
The fourth author is Senator Dennis Fredrickson who was a U.S. Navy helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft pilot during the Vietnam War.
The fifth author is Senator Mee Moua, an attorney and Hmong American who immigrated to this country from Laos. She escaped from communist Laos as a young girl with the rest of her family by floating on a raft in the dead of night down the Mekong River. The family gradually made their raft move to the other side of the river and escaped to Thailand.
After the five authors signed the resolution, I introduced in on May 10, 2005. On the same day, it was referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration.
The committee reviewed the resolution and directed the Secretary of the Senate to prepare an enrolled copy to be authenticated by his signature.
The resolution was also signed by the chief author, Senator Steve Dille and by Senator Dean Johnson, the Senate Majority Leader. Senator Johnson was also a Brigadier General in the United States Army.
The resolution was then transmitted to the representatives of the Vietnamese Refugee Community of Minnesota.
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this important event. Thanks again for all you have done. Good luck and best wishes.