Members of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1024 participated in the nation’s biggest Tet parade, held Feb. 9 in the Little Saigon neighborhood of Westminster, Calif. The seventh annual lunar new year celebration was organized by the Vietnamese American Federation of Southern California to mark the Year of the Pig.
Veterans of the United States and South Vietnamese armed services wore military uniforms. “We celebrate the human rights we enjoy in the United States,” Phat Bui, chairman of this year’s parade, told OC Now. “After 43 years of escaping from atrocities by the Communist government, we now enjoy freedom and human rights and the opportunity to bring our communities together.”
Between 13,000 to 15,000 spectators watched the parade, less than usual due to rain. “When the American Vietnam veterans came home, they were spit on,” said VVA member Robert Harrison, a former Marine. “We find that the Vietnamese community is embracing us, and it’s nice to be thanked. The Vietnamese people [here] appreciate the Vietnam vet.”