Remembering South Vietnam: A Tribute to The Republic

Remembering South VietnamPhoto via Flickr

This is just a brief tribute to the former Republic of Vietnam and all the brave men and women who fought so bravely to protect the country. We all know very well the story of its tragic fall, but we also know very well what a great nation it was.

This year, to commemorate the day that Saigon fell to the communists, I want to remind everyone of the greatness of South Vietnam. By recognizing the actions, ideals, and achievements of the Southern Republic, I aim to demonstrate to us all why April 30 is such a sad day for any Vietnamese who loves freedom.

Every year since 1975, April 30 marks the fall of a proud, vibrant, and prosperous Republic, one that flourished culturally and economically, and carried itself with courage, pride and dignity. Moreover, this day marks the fall of a democracy, a young democracy, but a true democracy nonetheless.

South Vietnam was a nation that nurtured its young. It was a nation that had a deep love for education, invested heavily in education, and went to great lengths to ensure their citizens the access to this education. In only two decades of its existence, South Vietnam successfully expanded its educational programs by leaps and bounds, growing exponentially at the elementary, secondary, and university levels. To put neatly, South Vietnam was a nation of smart people, with endless potential for advancement and growth.

In terms of economy, South Vietnam was highly competitive, a leader in the Southeast Asia region, and a contender in Asia as a whole. Starting from its humble beginnings as a postcolonial state, South Vietnam showed rapid growth immediately after its birth as an independent nation. Over the course of its lifetime, up until its fall in 1975, South Vietnam prospered economically, excelling in agriculture, heavy industry, and trade. Due to its success, its capital city Saigon garnered huge respect from the world, and earned itself the famous title of “Pearl of the Orient.”

When speaking of democracy in South Vietnam, there is no doubt that the Southern Republic was a true liberal democracy. Secret ballot elections, universal suffrage, multiple political parties, freedom of speech, expression, and association, and checks and balances between its executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, South Vietnam met all of these criteria. In all, South Vietnam was a free country, one that championed the rights of its people, adhered to the rule of law, and kept its people safe.

Lastly, I would just like to recognize South Vietnam as a brave and noble nation that fought with every ounce of its strength to defend its people, from domestic terrorism by the National Liberation Front, the all too familiar invasions from North Vietnam, as well as an abrupt naval invasion by the People’s Republic of China.

In all of these cases, South Vietnam responded, and with whatever resources it had, the Southern Republic fought. This was the nation that captured many VC terrorists, even converting many of them to forsake their communist allegiances and come over to the Republic. Moreover, this was the nation that kept the North at bay for 20 years, and, statistically speaking, eviscerated the communist forces in the majority of engagements on the battlefield.

Finally, South Vietnam was the nation to open fire on the Chinese when the latter sent their warships into Hoang Sa (Paracel) in 1974, thinking that they can push the Southern Republic around. With all that has been shown, it simply needs to be understood here that South Vietnam was a nation that stood tall and fought hard. It was a proud nation, a brave nation, and an honorable nation that kept its people safe.

The loss of this Republic on April 30, 1975 is more than just a page in history. It is a tragedy, marking the day that every freedom-loving Vietnamese person lost their home.

The sadness brought about from the loss of the Republic of Vietnam stems from the greatness of its legacy. Because of its ideals, and because of its bravery, the memory of South Vietnam continues to resonate in the hearts and minds of every freedom-loving Vietnamese person across the world, even inside Vietnam today.

South Vietnam has become a symbol of what it means to be truly Vietnamese in the modern era: smart, hardworking, brave, loyal, and living with integrity. These are the things that the Republic of Vietnam stood for, and these are the type of people who hail from its origins and carry on its legacy. The yellow flag of freedom represents our roots as people of a proud and honorable nation, and reminds us of our undying love for independence and democracy.

In all of this, we cannot forget our veterans. The troops that sacrificed themselves, paying the ultimate price both physically and mentally to defend the ideals of the Republic and keep the people safe, their sacrifice must never be forgotten.

To the soldiers of South Vietnam, the soldiers of the United States, and soldiers of the allied nations who gave their lives to defend freedom in Vietnam, we thank you, for everything.

This is a tribute to the nation of South Vietnam, and all the brave men and women who fought to defend the country and its ideals. This is for you.

Thank you.

4 Responses to “Remembering South Vietnam: A Tribute to The Republic”

  1. Saigondragon27 Says:

    To South Vietnam! Freedom will always be in our hearts and minds. Long Live VNCH! Never forget! VNCH muon nam!

  2. Steffie T Says:

    We will never forget…!

  3. Tran Hung Dao Says:

    I am not Vietnamese but I have been to Vietnam on several occasions and have ongoing links with Vietnam.

    I would like to make a few comments regarding the status of the Republic of Vietnam and the current political situation within Vietnam and outside Vietnam.

    As I learn more and more about what happened in South Vietnam before 1975 and up to the 30th of April 1975 I start to understand the people of the Republic of Vietnam and their feeling of betrayal both against Hanoi and the US.

    President Nguyen Van Thieu of course famously said “Don’t trust the Communists”, and of course he was right.

    After signing a peace treaty in 1973, which they had no intention of honoring, Hanoi immediately set about preparing for another invasion of the south with massive support from China and the USSR, while Saigon was basically abandoned by the US with massive funding cuts until the inevitable happened and despite a courageous and desperate defense, South Vietnam was overwhelmed.

    One has to wonder what would have happened if South Vietnam, like South Korea had been allowed to develop along the same lines. Can we imagine a free, democratic Republic of Vietnam with a thriving economy, while The “Democratic” Republic of Vietnam shelters behind the 17th parallel, corrupt, totalitarian, economically backward and being propped up by China?

    It’s interesting to note that despite Hanoi, Saigon is once again the economic powerhouse of Vietnam.

    My point is that we all agree that the current regime in Hanoi has to go. But how will that be achieved and what will a post-communist Vietnam look like?

    It seems to me that there are many different opinions as to Vietnam’s future, from a full restoration of the Republic of Vietnam and all that that entails through to those who see Vietnam being pretty much as it is now but without the harsh human rights violations and other parties being allowed to take part in elections. I note one commentator who suggests that there should be a vote to see if the Vietnamese people want to continue with the communist government! I see no value in this. The communists never gave the Vietnamese people a choice in the first place, murdering anyone who stood in their way, so have no right to be part of any future Vietnamese state.

    I also believe that the Vietnamese people would not want to go back to a divided country so I doubt that a fully restored Republic of Vietnam with Saigon as the Capital is really the way to go.

    There are a number of different groups and individuals working towards their vision of what a future non-communist Vietnam will look like but it seems to me that this movement is very fragmented, making it easy for Hanoi to disrupt through arrests and long jail terms, fairly minor and dare i say ineffectual opposition.

    The three ladies who were arrested and jailed for displaying the yellow flag with three stripes recently must be admired, but just what did that actually achieve?

    When Vietnamese people really get angry and do something, Hanoi is shown for what it is. The ‘Formosa’ tragedy that occurred this year is a case in point. They can’t arrest everyone even if they want to.

    My point is that until all these fragmented groups get together and form a ‘real’ opposition we will have to put up with the current situation. The communist party shows no sign of relaxing it’s grip on Vietnam. Arresting two people here, a couple of bloggers there, no problem. Seven or eight years in jail and no-one will remember who they are.

    The Hanoi regime is not going to throw up it’s hands in surrender and quietly melt away. It has too much to lose. It’s not going to be overthrown militarily either in the foreseeable future (Unless China invades).

    What is needed is a strong, organized opposition both inside and outside Vietnam to work towards freedom and democracy and the removal of the communists, hopefully sooner rather than later.

    NB.I have adopted the famous Vietnamese general’s name as a pseudonym as the publishing of my real name may cause problems.

    Tran Hung Dao

  4. Beautifully written. Sums up everything that South Vietnam once was and will forever be in the hearts of the freedom loving Vietnamese people.

    Thank you for this article, I am very moved by it.

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