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Feud over fall-of-Saigon ceremony resolved

A feud between an Orange County supervisor and a Vietnamese community group over which should organize an event commemorating the fall of Saigon was settled this week when the Westminster City Council decided to let each hold their own ceremony

Supervisor Janet Nguyen will be permitted to stage an event at Westminster’s Freedom Park from morning to afternoon. The Vietnamese American Community of Southern California will get the park during evening hours.

Members of the Vietnamese American Community of Southern California cheered after council members voted in a special hearing Wednesday to modify the supervisor’s permit.

The group has led an event marking the fall of South Vietnam to communist forces for more than a decade in the heart of Little Saigon, the largest Vietnamese community in the United States. But this year, Nguyen, who represents the ethnic enclave, asked for the permit first. Angered, members of the community group accused the supervisor of stealing the event from them.

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The supervisor’s office said Nguyen should organize the event because she, like the group, wanted to commemorate the history of fellow Vietnamese.

The two factions agreed to work together to create a single event, but the cease-fire quickly broke down when the two sides could not agree on items such as who would make the first speech after the flag ceremony, said Lac Tan Nguyen, president of the community group.

“Finally, everyone is so happy because this is something very special for our community,” he said.

my-thuan.tran@latimes.com

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