Vietnamese immigrants in Northern Virginia were honored Tuesday afternoon with a historical marker that now sits aside Eden Center in Falls Church.
The plaque tells the story of many immigrants who fled a war-torn Vietnam in the 1970s. According to historians, a great many opened businesses in Arlington’s Clarendon neighborhood but, with rising rents, moved to the Eden Center in Falls Church during the 1980s.
Eden Center would become home to many Vietnamese American owned stores and restaurants, and it would be a place where Southeast Asian culture can be shared and enjoyed by everyone who visits the mall.
“It’s a place that is really a cultural touch point,” said Falls Church Mayor David Tarter. “Not only for the Vietnamese community, but for all of Northern Virginia,”
VIDEO: The unveiling ceremony for a new historical marker in Falls Church, Virginia, honoring Vietnamese immigrants in Northern Virginia. (Courtesy Phillips Nguyen)
The historical marker only became a reality because of students at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School in Falls Church. In 2021, they nominated the site in the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Historical Marker contest and won.
Those students, eighth grader Oliver Hardi and seventh grader Griffin Hardi, helped unveil the new sign on Tuesday afternoon.
Alan Frank, senior vice president of Eden Center, said being awarded the new marker is “very meaningful to the Falls Church community, the Eden Center, and most of all, the Vietnamese Americans who we honor today.”
Trinh Mau-Nguyen, chairman of the Vietnamese Senior Citizens Association, said he is proud to see the sign go up.
“Vietnamese Americans bring along a wealth of history and culture from Southeast Asia, especially accepting diversity, empathizing with the underprivileged,” said Trinh Mau-Nguyen said.
According to the plaque, Eden Center became a regional gathering spot of Vietnamese Americans and was at one point the largest source of Vietnamese goods on the East Coast.