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Central Floridians Remember Vietnam War

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Veteran's Memorial Park in Orlando, FL.

The central Florida Vietnamese community commemorated the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon – the capture of the South Vietnam capital that signaled the end of the Vietnam War.

Vietnamese-Americans dressed in traditional áo dài prayed for Vietnam, America and the soldiers that lost their lives in the Vietnam War.

The American and South Vietnamese flags billowed at Veterans Memorial Park in Orlando to remember the the 58,000 American and 260,000 South Vietnamese soldiers that died in the war.

Retired Air Force Colonel Joe Kittinger spoke at the event and reminded the crowd why he fought. “We knew what you wanted, what you needed and what you desired was freedom and democracy. And that’s what were there to help you acquire that,” he said.

Kittinger recognized many South Vietnamese fled the country after the war, some settling in Central Florida. “People that are here today at this celebration are people that had their home overtaken by communism. They’re the greatest Americans there are. They love this country,” he said.

Kittinger’s fighter plane was shot down in North Vietnam and held a prisoner of war for 11 months.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Intersection' Producer

Brendan covers the space beat for WMFE, reporting on rocket launches from Florida's Space Coast to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He host's WMFE's space exploration podcast "Are We There Yet?" He also helps produce WMFE's twice-weekly public affairs show "Intersection," working with host ... Read Full Bio »