[QODLink]
Archive
Vietnam remembers victory over US

Vietnam has celebrated the co

Last Modified: 30 Apr 2005 13:04 GMT
The celebrations reenacted scenes from 30 years ago

Vietnam has celebrated the communist victory of 30 years ago over a US-backed government.

The celebrations on Saturday were marked by parading troops on the same boulevard used by tanks on their way to smashing the Presidential Palace of South Vietnam that symbolised the final act of victory.

 

Watched by the country's leaders and legendary figures such as war hero General Vo Nguyen Giap, soldiers, government workers and performers marched with red flags waving towards the palace gates in Ho Chi Minh city.

 

Hundreds of ageing veterans, their chests decked with medals, watched from the sidelines.

 

Giant billboards of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam's revolutionary leader, dominated the parade ground and adjoining streets which had been blocked off to the public due to security concerns.

 

Fall of Saigon

 

On 30 April 1975, North Vietnamese tanks barrelled through the gates of the palace, the heart of the US-backed Saigon government.

 

Vietnam is on the crest of an
economic wave

The fall of Saigon marked the official end to the Vietnam War, and America's more than decade-long attempt to halt the spread of communism in the region. The war claimed about 58,000 American lives and an estimated three million Vietnamese.

 

"I was listening to the radio with my family and heard that Saigon had been liberated. I was very happy because for many years we weren't free. After 30 years we have rebuilt our country. Our land is safe and secure and I think the future will be better for my children," said To Thanh Nghia, 51, a government worker marching in the parade.

 

The atmosphere in the country three decades later has been mostly festive, focusing on Vietnam's recent economic rejuvenation. Memories of the war and its aftermath are little more than anecdotes in history books for most Vietnamese who were born after it ended.

 

Victories recalled

 

While Vietnam proudly recalled its victories over both the United States and colonial France, the focus was clearly on the future.

 

"I was listening to the radio with my family and heard that Saigon had been liberated. I was very happy because for many years we weren't free"

To Thanh Nghia,
government worker

"Through our two resistance [wars] against foreign aggressors the historical clashes in Saigon will always be in the forefront," said President Tran Duc Luong to cheers from the crowd.

 

He called Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, the country's "economic locomotive".

 

With the president on the giant reviewing platform was a guest of honour, Raul Castro, the brother and successor to Cuba's leader Fidel Castro who stood by Vietnam's communist government for decades.

 

Also flanking the leader was Giap, the military mastermind who defeated the French at Dien Bien Phu and ousted the Americans.

 

Despite Vietnam's remarkable recovery from the devastation of war, most of its largely agrarian population of 82 million remains poor with per capita income hovering around $550 a year.

 

But Vietnam is on the crest of an economic wave that saw annual growth of 7.7% last year - second only to China in Asia.

Source:
Unspecified
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The conservative UMP party suffers from crippling internal divisions and extreme debt from mismanagement.
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
join our mailing list