Presidential politics enter S. Vietnamese flag day

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Oct. 1, 2008

After Saigon fell on April 30, 1975, the yellow flag with three red stripes (often flown in Dorchester's Vietnamese-American community) was forbidden on Vietnamese territory. It was the flag of the South Vietnamese, first born after France signed the Ha Long Bay Accord with Emperor Bao Dai of Vietnam in 1948.

This year is the 60th anniversary of the flag, and the fifth year of its recognition as the flag of the Vietnamese-American diaspora by the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire. On Saturday, celebrants will parade the flag through Dorchester, beginning in Fields Corner's Townfield Park at 11 a.m.

Later in the evening around 6 p.m., a banquet will be held at the Empire Garden restaurant in Chinatown, 690 Washington St.

A Vietnamese surrogate for Sen. Barack Obama is flying up from Virginia to speak at the affair, and organizers had hoped to secure a similar speaker from Sen. John McCain's campaign. Though Sen. McCain is known to be highly popular among Vietnamese-Americans here - particularly the older set - his campaign has yet to confirm a speaker, according to Toan Nguyen, the lead organizer of the anniversary celebration.

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