Plans to build a monument to commemorate a battle in the Vietnam War to be placed in Sid Goldstein Freedom Park were “put on hold” by a vote of the Westminster City Council at a special meeting Friday night.
After a session lasting nearly three hours, the council voted 3-2 to stop the process, with Councilmembers Tai Do, Kimberly Ho and Carlos Manzo in favor of the pause. Mayor Tri Ta and Vice Mayor Chi Charlie Nguyen were opposed.
The pause is open-ended and no construction permits can be issued.
The proposed Quang Tri Citadel monument would observe the victory of South Vietnamese forces – with some American assistance, including air support – over North Vietnamese troops in a battle that lasted from June 28 to Sept. 16, 1972.
That struggle is also known as the Second Battle of Quang Tri. The first took place during the Tet Offensive of Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 1968. That was also a victory for American and South Vietnamese forces, but the persistence of Communist forces in mounting major attacks all across the Republic of Vietnam is considered to be a turning point in American popular support for involvement in the war.
Two alternate motions – one to pause the project for four weeks only and another to create a council subcommittee to “resolve” issues related to the monument – failed on 3-2 votes, with Ta and Nguyen again in the minority.
The monument has become controversial over complaints that the plans for its design may not accurately represent the historical record, that there’s not been sufficient public involvement sought and that adding more monuments next to the Vietnam War Memorial already in the park might dilute the impact of the original.
Supporters argued that the monument would honor an important historical moment for the Vietnamese people, who represent close to half of the population of Westminster.