Many flags showed up at the Capitol protest on January 6th, but for South Vietnamese Americans, it’s the sight of a defunct flag, representing a country that ceased to exist nearly a half-century ago.
The yellow-and-red-striped banners of the former South Vietnam flew above crowds of conservatives all over the Capitol grounds. Many of the flag carriers were Vietnamese Americans who, in support of President Donald Trump, have often used the emblem to express nostalgia for a lost home and opposition to communism.
“This flag to me is an anti-Communist flat,” Michelle Le, a Seattle-based real estate broker who flew the banner at the rally, wrote in a Facebook post, which has been deleted. “It’s a reminder of my root and heritage. I had lived through Communism and I know the tyranny and the pain it had inflicted on many families.”
For Vietnamese Americans, the Yellow Flag represents many, often clashing, aspects of the refugee experience. For decades, people have used it to express hatred for a communist regime that banished them from their country. The same sentiments buoyed the group’s long-standing loyalty to the Republican Party.
However liberals and media professors now claim that the flag isn’t what Vietnamese Americans want it to stand for, as they push to paint yet another bullshit narrative.
“On the one hand, it’s a political symbol,” she said, noting that the banner’s meaning has shifted over the years depending on “whose voice is loudest.” “But on the other, there is this very affective and sentimental personal attachment that many in the refugee community have toward it.”
After communist North Vietnam defeated the U.S.-backed South in 1975, scores of South Vietnamese refugees resettled in America. In Vietnam, the North’s red flag replaced their yellow one. In the 1990s, Vietnamese American leaders began lobbying local elected officials to recognize the defunct banner as the “Heritage and Freedom Flag” to represent the displaced overseas community. More than 20 states have adopted resolutions to do so.
Today, the flag is a permanent, sacred fixture at important cultural events, including Lunar New Year, or Tết, festivals, serving as a totem of solidarity and rebirth. It has allowed people to reminisce about their former lives, Vo Dang said, while giving them the strength to forge new paths in their adopted home.
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