April 30, 2014, is the 39th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon. It is a time to remember and honor our more than 58,000 fallen and missing soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines, our half a million Vietnam War veterans, and a million and a half South Vietnamese allies, as well as our allies from Australia, South Korea, Thailand, New Zealand and the Philippines, who fought and died in the pursuit of freedom and democracy.
We will never forget their sacrifice.
Today is also a time to recognize and celebrate the tremendous contributions that Vietnamese Americans have made to our nation and to our shared American way of life, and to renew our commitment to ensure that human rights and freedom are one day respected in Vietnam.
Like many people in Orange County, I have heard heartbreaking stories of the suffering of many of my Vietnamese friends and their families, of their tremendous struggles and their remarkable strength in coming to this country as refugees in one of the largest mass migrations in modern history.
We will never forget the incredible hardships they endured and never cease to admire their courageous determination to live in freedom.