A Historic Milestone: Vietnamese Freedom and Heritage Flag Raised on Parliament Hill for the First Time

May 1, 2017

Over one thousand members of the Vietnamese Canadian community gathered on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 1st 2017 to witness the first ever flag raising ceremony in honour of Journey to Freedom Day. In remembrance of April 30, the community and federal parliamentarians raised the Canadian flag and the Vietnamese Freedom and Heritage flag to commemorate the perilous journey of Vietnamese boat people refugees after the fall of Saigon in 1975, and their arrival in Canada.

Flag Raising                                

On May 1st, participants attended Journey to Freedom Day on the Hill in the spirit of Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation to remember the perilous journey of the boat people refugees, and thank Canada’s for its compassionate response welcoming over 60,000 refugees. During this historical event spearheaded by the Vietnamese Canadian Federation (VCF), members of communities from across Canada, including the United States, braved the rainy weather to witness theirs flags raised on Parliament Hill in front of the Peace Tower.

Numerous Members of Parliament and Senators joined the ceremony on the Hill, which featured chants and touching statements from the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of immigration refugees and citizenship, the Honourable Rona Abrose, Leader of the Official Opposition, the Honourable Senator Thanh Hai Ngo, and MP Anne Minh-Thu Quach.

National War Memorial

The community continued their milestone event by marching from Parliament Hill to the Canadian National War Memorial to lay a wreath in honour of the sacrifices of the brave men and women who fought for freedom, democracy and human rights. A moment of silence was held to commemorate a shared past, and take the time to remember.

Freedom Scarves in the House of Commons and the Senate

Thanks to the Vietnamese Canadian Federation, Members of Parliament wore the yellow and red stripes scarves, also known as the Freedom Scarves, in the House of Commons on Monday, May 1st, to honour Journey to Freedom Day. MPs Peter Kent, Judy Sgro, and Minh Thu Quach made statements to recognize the national day of commemoration in Chamber. On Tuesday, May 2nd, Senators also wore the colors of freedom around their necks in the Senate Chamber, where Senator Ngo made a final statement in honour of Journey to Freedom Day and recall the modern beginnings of Canada’s Vietnamese community and their success story in Canada.

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