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Vietnam celebrates 40th anniversary of liberation

By Agencies In Ho Chi Minh City | China Daily | Updated: 2015-05-01 07:31

War veterans recall massive sacrifice made to secure nation's reunification

Thousands of troops and civilians marched in a huge parade in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday to mark the 40th anniversary of the liberation of South Vietnam and the culmination of the Vietnamese people's long struggle for national reunification.

Elaborate floats, including one bearing a giant portrait of founding president Ho Chi Minh, made their way through the city's streets, celebrating the moment 40 years ago when tanks smashed through the gates of the presidential palace in the then-southern capital of Saigon - now named Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said that the victory on April 30, 1975, marked a new chapter in the nation's history of national construction and defense.

"With that victory, we accomplished a historic mission of liberating the South and reunifying the country, bringing Vietnam into a new era, the era of independence and reunification, and building socialist Vietnam into a strong nation with wealthy people and a democratic, just and civilized society," he said.

Nguyen Van Tap, 64, who drove Tank 390 through the gates of the presidential palace, said: "The tank crashing the gates ... was a symbol of victory for the Vietnamese nation and the Vietnamese People's Army, marking the end of the 30 years of national resistance against the French and then the Americans."

80-year-old veteran Nguyen Tran said: "We feel so happy each time when the country commemorates the Liberation Day and National Reunification on April 30. It is not because we are victors, but because it marks a time when there is no more war in our country and peace has returned to our people."

Tran said he joined the resistance war against the French colonialists and he witnessed its ending with victory in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in May 1954. He continued to participate in the anti-US resistance war and knew very well the aftermath of this horrible war and the value of peace as well.

"When the Vietnam War ended in 1975, only five out of my 10 classmates survived and returned home. It was really a huge loss," said the veteran, adding that young Vietnamese were the main force to participate in the war, and each of their deaths was a great loss to the country.

Meanwhile, 23-year-old Le Thanh Thuy, who graduated from college in Ho Chi Minh City, said that she felt lucky to be born in the post-war period, but she is well aware of the sacrifice that the older generations of her countrymen had made for today's national reunification.

"The annual celebration on April 30 reminds us, the young generation of the country, of the nation's historical milestones and the forefathers' sacrifice for our current life in peace. We should strive to continue their tradition in defending and building the country," Thuy said, adding that every year, on the Liberation Day her family used to get together and watch documentary films of the event with deep emotion and pride.

Xinhua - AP


Vietnam celebrates 40th anniversary of liberation

Militia members march as part of the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the liberation of Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on Thursday. The military victory on April 30, 1975, led to the nation's reunification in the following year. Kham / Reuters


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