The day's project was to clean up the site for One World Day on August 28, Raise the proud Yellow and Red striped Flag of Viet Nam, and Prepare the Cleveland ground for a Beautiful Flower garden. The Morning began with a Salute to the flag by everyone standing at attention, a Review of the Day's Importance, and prayers for all who gave their lives in Viet Nam. Here is an account of the activities from Joe Meissner.
President Gia Hoa Ryan reminds everyone of what this garden means for the Vietnamese Community and how all must work together. She thanks all who have come and invites others to join us now and in the future.
Vice President Oanh Powell asks all to commit themselves to celebrating our world famous One World Day for the Gardens which celebrate their One Hundredth Birthday on August 28. Next to her, her son stands straight and tall at the prayer ceremony and he symbolizes the Vietnamese youth from America and around the world who are dedicated to making a better world for all of us.
Treasurer Dam Uyen asks for all to work hard and to remember the enormous fund raising project they all are undertaking to raise one million dollars for this garden construction.
LTC (RET) Joseph Meissner invites all to offers a prayer for all the soldiers on all sides of the various conflicts who gave their lives in Viet Nam. He also reminds everyone that there were four wars in Viet Nam, including the French, the American, The Khampuchean, and the Chinese. He asks everyone to pray for the Vietnamese soldiers who gave their lives to stop the murderous Pol Pot Regime which was committing genocide in Cambodia. He lists the numbers of soldiers who have given their lives in all the wars and he urges everyone to remember their families as well.
Finally, he holds up the Flag of Viet Nam and tells everyone, "This flag symbolizes the entire Country of Viet Nam. See the red stripe at top across the Golden field, that is for the north of Viet Nam. See the stripe across the middle? That is for the central area in Viet Nam. See the stripe across the bottom half? That recalls the south of Viet Nam."
All present then raise their hands in a morning salute and cross their hearts with their hands as a sign of their dedication.
Flag of Vietnam
Next is a business meeting at which all tasks for the upcoming August 28 day are assigned and reviewed. The Vietnamese Garden will feature a flag-raising ceremony at 11:00 that morning. Next will be participation in the parade led by the Vietnamese cyclo piloted by LTC Meissner and guided by members of the Vietnamese community.
This is followed by a fashion show at 2:30 complete with music. The Vietnamese garden will participate in the PASSPORT Program with games and questions as well as prizes and a raffle for those visiting the Vietnamese site. Of course, throughout the day, Vietnamese foods freshly cooked on site, including lots of Banh Mi sandwiches, lemon grass chicken, and icy-rich tasty Vietnamese Coffee (jet black or with condensed milk) will be offered for the people. Nothing tastes as good as cold Vietnamese Coffee on a sun-filled hot Cleveland day.
Then begins the work for this Sunday. "General" Michael Powell and his son take charge of the work crew.
Michael Powell at work
For hours they dig out the hard Cleveland soil, and then pile up the dirt which has to be separated from all the rocks and weedy grass. The form of the garden in a beautiful moon crescent takes shape. The three ladies-Oanh, Uyen, and Gia Hoa, smooth our all the soil. Michael and his son lift the heavy wheel barrel-loads of weighty dirt that has been strained pure. Attorney Joseph Meissner offers encouragement and legal advice from his seat in the shade
The work crew takes only a few minutes of respite to share and eat a delicious picnic lunch of six different kinds of healthy salads, pasta, and a delicious brown savory sauce with lots of meatballs. There are plenty of bottles of icy water and various pops and juices. Gia Hoa Ryan adds a desert to the picnic with her tasty Vietnamese Banana Bread whose recipe is an ancient Vietnamese secret.
Finally at 6:30 in the evening, the initial garden work has been completed. The garden form has been dug out and then a rich topsoil, salvaged from original dirt, has been positioned in it. In the next week a layer of more top soil will be added, and then comes the planting of hundreds of colorful flowers in a celebration of joy, history and wonderful cultural memories.
Viet Nam lives in Cleveland.
The work crew raises a final salute to the flag and to their garden. The end for this Sunday.
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