The city of Fayetteville has tried for decades to shed that image.
Now, Mayor Tony Chavonne wants to establish a sister city with Soc Trang in the vast river delta of southern Vietnam.
“I don’t think there’s any city in America that is more closely aligned with Vietnam and that period in our history and that war,” Chavonne said Wednesday.
Chavonne, who has family who served in the military, lived in Fayetteville during the Vietnam War. It has been decades since then, and Chavonne said, both places have changed.
“It’s not the same country, not the same Army, not the same city. All of them are better and that’s the story we want to tell,” he said.
The cities would send delegations for visits and exchange cultures, he said.
Fayetteville has Veteran’s Memorial Park, which honors veterans of Vietnam. Many veterans living in the city said the proposition for a sister city in Vietnam is a losing battle.
Don Talbot, a retired Green Beret and Vietnam veteran, feels the move “puts salt in the wounds of the Vietnam military that fought there.”
“He’s trying to bring up an era of 35 to 40 years ago that most of us would like to forget,” Talbot said.
Chavonne said the idea is just a proposal for now and is not being voted on.