Tet Parade to ring in Year of the Dog

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BY BRADY RHOADES: Mark this one on your calendars.

It's a sight to behold, a concert to the ears, and one of the great, historical traditions in Vietnamese culture.

Tet.

"This annual parade is an opportunity to bring together everyone to celebrate cultural diversity and family," said Westminster City Councilman Tyler Diep.

BY BRADY RHOADES: Mark this one on your calendars.

It's a sight to behold, a concert to the ears, and one of the great, historical traditions in Vietnamese culture.

Tet.

"This annual parade is an opportunity to bring together everyone to celebrate cultural diversity and family," said Westminster City Councilman Tyler Diep.

The Tet Parade, celebrating the Lunar New Year, is fewer than three weeks away. On Feb. 17, Little Saigon will be teeming with dancers in colorful costumes, dragons, warriors, drummers and, because it’s the Year of the Dog, a pack of police K-9s with their handlers.

Featured in the parade will be a 55-foot-long replica of a South Vietnamese Navy destroyer that sank in 1974 during a battle against Chinese forces, and a giant TV screen showing a crowd of more than 10,000 — from Westminster, Garden Grove and beyond — the opening ceremonies on the main stage.

As always, firecrackers will be exploding — loudly, but safely.

Veterans of the Vietnam War — both those who fought as Americans and those who fought as South Vietnamese — will march side-by-side.

The replica destroyer is of the Nhat Tao. In 1974, in a battle over the disputed Paracel Islands, the South Vietnamese Navy sank three Chinese destroyers, but the Nhat Tao sank as well, and 75 people died.

"That ship and its crew were outnumbered, yet it sank many invading ships," said Diep.

Diep said China is exercising aggression in the East China Sea today, threatening not just Vietnam but U.S. allies in the region. The Nhat Tao, he said, continues to be relevant.

"It has to do with standing up to outside aggression."

The parade will be broadcast on a couple of local Vietnamese-language television stations, and on Facebook Live and YouTube.

The event, put on by the Vietnamese Federation of Southern California, is scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon on Bolsa Avenue, between Magnolia and Bushard streets.

For more information, visit http://tetparade.org/contact.html.