To: Mr. Steve Jenkins, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Ms. Shellye Arnold, CEO, Memorial Park Conservancy. 7575 North Picnic Lane, Houston, TX 77007
Subject: Ho Chi Minh Trail
We happen to know that in the Memorial Park, there is a trail named after the former Vietnamese Communist leader Ho Chi Minh. We respect your right of speech as we are living in a free and democratic country.
However, we would like you to take into consideration how hurtful our Vietnamese Americans endure each time we recall the name Ho Chi Minh, particularly in the country that once was our ally in the war against Communism.
Ho Chi Minh – the founder of Communist Party (1930) and then Democratic Republic of Vietnam (1945) – is the true responsible man for all misery our people have been enduring. He is no hero to the people, but only to the Communists who hold power and enjoy high privilege.
The name Ho Chi Minh recalls a long nightmare to millions of Vietnamese refugees who fled Vietnam after the Communists won the war. It also hurts the feeling of tens of millions people in Vietnam who for more than half century, have been suffering from the Communist brutality. Many Vietnamese are still trying to flee away from the country to avoid the merciless policies and oppression of the Communist regime. Indeed, Vietnamese people are without any human and civil rights thanked to Ho Chi Minh’s ideology.
Please, be so kind as to thoroughly research the history to learn the true identity of Ho Chi Minh and remove his name from your facilities.
We wish you all the best.
Response from the CEO of Memorial Park Conservancy:
Shellye Arnold <SArnold@memorialparkconservancy.org> Today at 6:45 AM
To: Bill Laurie
CC: Kiet Nguyen Marc Yablonka Michael Do John Del Vecchio Roger Soiset and 4 more…
Hello Mr. Laurie,
Thank you for your message concerning the naming of the bike trails in Memorial Park. There seems to be misinformation circulating that the Memorial Park Conservancy or the Houston Parks and Recreation Department / City of Houston gave the Memorial Park southern hike/bike trails the names of “Ho Chi Minh” or “Cambodia.” Please know — and let others know — that we have not named the trails this, do not use these names, will not name the trails this and do not sanction the use of these names.
Trails in the southern part of Memorial Park were called informal names including these in the early 1990s by private bike groups and individuals. This is likely due to the remoteness and difficulty of the trails – but we don’t really know. These are informal names that have been used privately and may be seen occasionally on facebook, blogs and club web pages. They are not official names and are not approved by the City of Houston, the Park Master Plan or the Memorial Park Conservancy.
As long as I have been in this role (3 years), I have instructed my staff not to refer to the trails using these names, and also to discourage users from referring to the trails this way.
Please let others interested in this topic know this.
The HATR leadership has sent notice to its members urging not to use the name Ho Chi Minh trail although the name had not been agreed or approved by the Memorial Park, HATR or City of Houston. Thank so much for listening!