It’s been over 20 years since I’ve spent the day in the District for the Fourth of July! One – time flies because two decades is quite some time. Two – I definitely take the city and all its events for granted, especially since I live so close to it. Three – I finally had the opportunity to not only celebrate Independence Day in the heart of America but to also be a part of the annual parade!
The Vietnamese-American Celebrate Freedom (VACF) is a group consisting of the Vietnamese community in the local areas of DC, MD, and VA. VACF has been a part of this parade for the past 20 years! I was beyond ecstatic to stand alongside with so many great Vietnamese-American leaders, including military and veteran personnel to represent the Vietnamese community. Huge thanks to VACF and Miss Vietnam DC for allowing me to be a part of this.
Most Vietnamese-Americans here in the states were once refugees escaping communism from Vietnam. My parents and I were also Vietnamese refugees. Although my recollection of my experience was limited due to young age… I still remember the sad stories they have shared with me on their journey seeking freedom. My parents came to the states without a word of English and have worked extremely hard for the past 30 years to care for our family. Thus, I am forever grateful for their hard work to give me the opportunity to live in a place where I can act, speak, and think without hindrance. So, on a day like Independence Day, my fellow Vietnamese-Americans are also celebrating their freedom and gratitude to be living the American Dream.
This elaborate ao dai (Vietnamese dress) with hand-painted details and khang dong (headpiece) is made by designer, Thieu Vy from Vietnam. I was honored to wear one of his beautiful most recent work! Photography credits: Billy Khuong.
Disclaimer: this article is not sponsored and is simply provided to you all from my honest opinion.