12 July 2017

Remains of martyrs reburied in Dong Nai

NDO – On July 12 the southern province of Dong Nai held a solemn memorial service to honour and rebury the remains of 72 martyrs who died during the battle at Bien Hoa airport, on January 31, 1968.

Politburo member and head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Education and Communications, Vo Van Thuong, Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, former President Truong Tan Sang, former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and leaders of the Ministry of Defence, Dong Nai province and relatives of the martyrs, from 23 provinces and cities nationwide, attended the ceremony held at the cemetery for martyrs in Dong Nai province.

In his eulogy at the memorial service, Le Van Danh, Secretary of the Bien Hoa municipal Party Committee, praised the contributions and sacrifices of millions of people who spared their youth and sacrificed their lives for the cause of national liberation and reunification.

During the war, Bien Hoa and Bien Hoa airport in particular were key battlefields, with strategic significance towards the north eastern gateway of Saigon, the headquarters of Saigon’s regime.

The battle at Bien Hoa airbase, at dawn on January 31, 1968, was an important battle in the general offensive and uprising of the revolutionary troops during the Tet Offensive in 1968, in wearing out the enemy forces and destroying their technical logistical grounds and planes. However, due to an imbalanced correlation regarding forces and equipment, the revolutionary forces suffered huge losses with many soldiers bravely sacrificed.

Through veteran sources, along with the support of two American veterans who had organised mass grave burials at Bien Hoa airport, the 1237 Steering Committee of Dong Nai province conducted a search for the remains of the fallen heroes.

According to historical clues of the Tet Offensive and information of veterans who directly joined the Bien Hoa airport battle, there were hundreds of officers and soldiers sacrificed on both sides of the east fence of Bien Hoa airport. Meanwhile, according to the information of two American veterans who directly organised the mass grave burying at the site, at that time, 150 bodies were buried there.

Politburo member Vo Van Thuong (left, in white) bids farewell to 72 martyrs as they rest in peace in the mother land. (Credit: vietnamnet.vn)

Colonel Mai Xuan Chien, deputy political commissar of the Dong Nai Military Command, said that through identifying and coordinating in the search for the identities and units of martyrs, there were remains from 23 provinces and cities nationwide, made clear by the 72 martyrs’ profiles managed by local authorities that coincided with the search results.

At the memorial service, Party and State leaders and former leaders burned incense to pay tribute to the sacrifices and losses of the fallen heroes and the martyrs’ families. After the ritual and incense ceremony, they joined the relatives of the martyrs as they brought their remains to the burial place.

Earlier, using a range of sources given by veterans, especially a photo and commentaries posted on the Internet about the burial of Vietnamese soldiers in Bien Hoa airfield by two US veterans, the 1237 Steering Committee of Dong Nai province conducted the search for the martyrs’ remains from March 18.

After nearly one month, search units discovered a burial pit of martyrs’ remains in a Melaleuca garden, located east of Bien Hoa airport. The search units have collected bones, remains and belongings of martyrs and then returned them to rest in Dong Nai province martyrs’ cemetery, in Tan Bien ward, Bien Hoa city.



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