A home on Northeast Columbia Boulevard has kept a concrete monument of the former president of South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem (1901-1963, in office 1955-1963) in it’s front yard overseeing thousands of trucks and trains each day, for the past 20+ years.

Diem’s amazing, corrupt, and dynamic career set the stage for the US defeat in Southeast Asia. For some Vietnamese who profited greatly in the early years of the wars may consider Diem to be an modern leader for a tiny weak nation stuck between two superpowers. For the rest of the world he was a petty dictator propped up by the French and the US. History hasn’t been kind to Diem or his supporters, so it’s interesting to find this sculpture and note it’s duration in one place.

The features show a young Diem, heroic and masculine. The pedestal has a picture of elks – the sculpture doesn’t fit it correctly. It’s a mash up.

The sculpture is about two-times life size, and I estimate it’s weight at over 800 pounds. I doubt it was cast around here, so it must have been transported, by truck, from where it was cast – probably a community with a large number of Vietnamese in the 1970s, Seattle or San Jose – and the set in position using some sort of crane or hoist. Quite a complicated arrangement.

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