A documentary film is being made about the former Republic of Vietnam flag that has flown in Sundre since the early 1980s.
The flag was donated to the town by then-resident Nam Tran in 1985. Since then the yellow flag with three red bars has been flown on the berm of the Greenwood Campground near the Red Deer River.
As the flag of the now-defunct Republic of Vietnam, the banner has over the years become a symbol of oppof the communist government of Vietnam, said Tran, noting that supporters call it the Freedom Flag.
Although the Freedom Flag now flies in many communities in Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere, Sundre's was the first to receive official government sanction (by the Town of Sundre council) to fly on public property anywhere, he said.
In support of the Sundre flag, the Vietnamese community from Calgary and elsewhere takes part in the Sundre Rodeo Parade.
As well, thanks to the internet coverage, the Sundre flag has become widely known in Vietnamese communities in many countries around the world.
Last week filmmaker Tse Tran, from Washington, D.C., came to Sundre and conducted a number of interviews with former mayor Roy Cummings, former MP Myron Thompson, Sundre business owner Ed Morgan and others as part of the film.
“I'm making a movie about the Vietnamese flag, the Freedom Flag, in Sundre,” Tse Tran said. “I read about it on the internet and Nam Tran gave me lots of information about the flag.
“This is our nation's flag. We lost our country, but the flag is still in our hearts, all over the world. We want to make this movie for the next generation so they can know the history of our nation. And we want to teach them about the Sundre flag, which is not the red flag the communists borrowed from Russia.”
The Republic of Vietnam flag was the official banner of Vietnam from the 1940s until South Vietnam fell in April 1975.
In 1987 the Town of Sundre received a complaint from the Vietnam embassy in Ottawa, saying the town was in violation of international protocol by flying the flag.
The banner was subsequently taken down for a time, but following a public rally put on by the Sundre flag supporters, council decided in August 2007 to fly the flag again. It continues to fly among other national flags on the Greenwood berm.
Tentatively called “The Soul of Vietnam”, Tse Tran's movie should be released by the end of 2013, he said.
The film will include many interviews to tell the story of the Sundre Vietnam flag, he said.
For his part, Nam Tran says he is proud that he donated the flag all those years ago, and that his former home of Sundre continues to fly the banner.
“Our people are so proud to see the flag flying in Sundre,” said Nam Tran, who now lives in Calgary. “This is the flag of freedom and for us it is a heritage. I really want to thank Sundre and the Canadian people for helping us support the flag for freedom.”