By BICH NGUYEN
Richmond, VA (Feb. 10, 2014) — An unprecedented ceremony took place early Feb. 10 in the General Assembly of Virginia.
As Senator Dick Black (R, Unit 13) rose to commend the gallantry and perseverance of the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam in the defense of freedom in South Vietnam in the face of incredible odds, he captured the attention of the whole senate with his brief tales of battles in which the ARVN distinguished itself. He mentioned, among other, the titanic battles of Tet 1968, the Easter Offensive of 1972, and the heroic battle of the Paracel Islands (Jan. 19, 1974) and the final battle in defense of Saigon.
In testimony of these feats he cited a number of former ARVN officers present (such as former Rear Admiral Dinh Manh Hung, Brigadier General Tran Quang Khoi) and various civilian and religious leaders of the Vietnamese community present. Leading the delegation from the Washington DC-Maryland-Virginia area was Mr. Doan Huu Dinh, a retired officer from the U.S. Department of Justice.
A number of prominent Vietnamese leaders in Richmond were also there. Among the members of the community there to witness the event were a number of ARVN veterans in their branch uniforms and Vietnamese women in their traditional dress, ao dai, in the colors of Vietnam (three red stripes against a yellow background).
At these introductions the whole senate stood up and gave a rousing ovation in honor of the Vietnamese American delegation some of whom came from as far as California for the occasion. Asked how it felt to be so recognized, Mr. Ho Van Sinh of the VNCH Foundation said that he felt a sense of gratitude that the sacrifices of millions of South Vietnamese soldiers have finally found expression in J.R. 455, the resolution sponsored by 139 out of 140 members of both houses in the General Assembly last year in February 2013.