CUP Undergraduate Research


Competing Commemorations of the Vietnam War: Voices of First- and Second-Generation Vietnamese in the United States and Vietnam

Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2015

Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis


College of Theology, Arts, & Sciences



Degree Name

History, BA

First Advisor

Dr. Gerd Horten


Forty years after the Vietnam War ended, the challenges of remembering and retelling the war continues. The war ended on April 30th, 1975 and marked the fall of Saigon. Millions of refugees faced adversity as they left their homes with the hope of a better future, primarily in the United States. With the assimilation to a new lifestyle, along with its culture and traditions, the obstacles of passing on the history of the war became a challenge as children of Vietnamese immigrants are taught with a different history of the war. However, it is not just these two perspectives of the Vietnam War that are taught; the official commemoration of the Vietnam War, taught in the reunified Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is contrastingly different from what is remembered by Vietnamese immigrants and taught in American history classes in the United States.

As the 40th anniversary of the Vietnam War approaches, the war is still controversial in the ways it is remembered by different groups of people and through different generations. With all the complex details of the war, how it ended, followed by challenges of recreating a unified society, and the art of commemorating the war, these dilemmas are still faced by first- and second-generations of Vietnamese people in the United States and in Vietnam. To have an understanding of the war, all sides of the war must be recognized and respected.

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