California Governor Schwarzenegger has signed a Republican-sponsored bill, acceding to the wishes of the Vietnamese community-in-exile in California, which will allow the flag of the fallen Republic of South Vietnam to be flown in California displays of the flags of world nations, instead of the Communist flag of North Vietnam.
California state buildings and parks now have the governor’s blessing to fly the former flag of South Vietnam during holidays and special occasions.
At an impromptu stop in Little Saigon on Saturday morning, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the long-awaited symbolic measure that gives the yellow flag with three red stripes the state’s official recognition.
About 10 states and over a dozen California cities and counties already have done so.
Schwarzenegger praised the Vietnamese immigrant community for its courage, vitality and cultural and economic contribution to the state.
Most Vietnamese immigrants fled their country after the communists’ victory and feel contempt for the country’s current red flag.
Vietnamese leaders have pushed for the traditional flag’s recognition for years, said Assemblyman Van Tran, R-Westminster.
The move gained momentum last month when Assemblywoman Lynn Daucher, R-Fullerton, who is running for state Senate in the district covering Little Saigon, appealed to the governor for help.
Both Schwarzenegger and Tran endorsed Daucher in her bid.
Among registered Vietnamese-born voters in Orange County, Republicans outnumber Democrats 2-to-1.
On Friday, the word spread that the move was final, and hundreds of Vietnamese gathered at the Rose Center in Westminster to cheer.