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Vietnamese Cultural Garden Groundbreaking

Vietnamese Cultural Garden Groundbreaking
711 Dr Martin Luther King Boulevard, Cleveland
May 30, 2020

The Cleveland Cultural Gardens are a collection of ethnic heritage gardens in Rockefeller Park in Cleveland Ohio. Over 30 nationalities are represented with about 15 more coming soon. The Vietnamese community of Cleveland hosted a groundbreaking event on the site of the Vietnamese Cultural Garden on May 30, 2020. Because of the Covid-19 virus, masks were worn and social distancing was practiced.

Friendship Foundation of American Vietnamese leader Joe Meissner introduced the ceremony and then president of the Foundation Gia Hoa Ryan gave her remarks.

Joe Meissner

Joe Meissner

Gia Hoa Ryan with model of statue

Gia Hoa Ryan with model of statue

Friendship Foundation sign


This was followed by the singing of a Vietnamese anthem, the Star Spangled Banner and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Singing a Vietnamese anthem

Singing a Vietnamese anthem

Singing the National Anthem

Singing the National Anthem

The Pledge of Allegiance

The Pledge of Allegiance



NOTE: The 3 images below with a white arrow in the middle are videos. (The other images are just photos) You can click on the white arrow to watch the video of whatever is described. Make sure your speakers are on and you can make the video full screen once it begins by clicking the icon in the lower right corner.



A number of people gave brief remarks to show their support for the project. First was Judge Marilyn Cassidy.

Judge Marilyn Cassidy

Judge Marilyn Cassidy


Next was Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone

Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone

Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone


Next was Dr. Wael Khoury, President of the Cleveland Cultural Garden Federation

Dr. Wael Khoury

Dr. Wael Khoury


Next was Brunswick Mayor Ronald Falconi

Mayor Ronald Falconi

Mayor Ronald Falconi

Then Karen & Kirsten Pianka from Judge Ray Pianka's Family

Karen & Kirsten Pianka

Kirsten and Karen Pianka


Next was David Thi, Vice-Chair of the Vietnamese Cultural Garden

David Thi

David Thi


Next was Vietnam Veteran and Veteran Community Leader Sean Ennis.

Sean Ennis

Sean Ennis


Next was Ken Kovach, Chair of ICC-WIN.

Ken Kovach

Ken Kovach


Next was Pierre Bejjani, CAMEO Chair and Middle Eastern leader

Pierre Bejjani

Pierre Bejjani


Next was Asim Datta from the Indian community

Asim Datta

Asim Datta


Next was Attorney Joseph Volpe.

Joseph Volpe

Joseph Volpe


Next was Lori Ashyk, Executive Director of the Cleveland Cultural Garden Federation.

Lori Ashyk

Lori Ashyk


Next was Charlene Crowley, Vietnamese Garden Designer.

Charlene Crowley

Charlene Crowley


Next was Aklilu Demessie, Ethiopian Garden Delegate

Aklilu Demessie

Aklilu Demessie


Next was Dan Hanson of ClevelandPeople.com.

Lithuanian Consul Ingrida Bublys spoke last.

Romas and Ingrida Bublys

Romas and Ingrida Bublys


Watch this video with all the speeches.



Attorney Joseph Meissner gave final thoughts and a closing prayer.

Joseph Meissner

Joseph Meissner


Then the ceremonial groundbreaking took place as participants lined up with their shovels a safe distance away from each other.

Watch the video of the closing remarks and groundbreaking.



Enjoy these other images from this important and historic event.

Vietnamese Cultural Garden groundbreaking

Vietnamese Cultural Garden groundbreaking


Vietnamese Cultural Garden groundbreaking


Vietnamese Cultural Garden groundbreaking


Vietnamese Cultural Garden groundbreaking

Mayor Ron Falconi


Vietnamese Cultural Garden groundbreaking

Akliliu Demessie


Vietnam Vet

Vietnam Vet


Matt Zone and Sean Ennis

Matt Zone and Sean Ennis


Joe Meissner and Gia Hoa Ryan

Joe Meissner and Gia Hoa Ryan


CAMEO representatives and Lori Ashyk

CAMEO representatives and Lori Ashyk


Vietnam Veterans

Vietnam Veterans


Plans for the Vietnamese Cultural Garden

Plans for the Vietnamese Cultural Garden


Gia Hoa Ryan

Gia Hoa Ryan


Joseph Meissner

Joseph Meissner


Model of the statue that will be in the Vietnamese Cultural Garden

Model of the statue that will be in the Vietnamese Cultural Garden


Congratulations to the Friendship Foundation, Vietnamese community of Cleveland and especially Joseph Meissner and Gia Hoa Ryan on having their dream coming to fruition for the benefit of the entire community.


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