Images: The sacred places of Vietnamese martyrs

VietNamNet Bridge – These are the places where every inch of land is soaked with the blood and bones of the martyrs who died for the country’s independence and unity.


martyrs, prisons, war, cemetery

Truong Son Martyr Cemetery - located in Vinh Truong Commune, Gio Linh District, Quang Tri Province - is the eternal resting place of more than 10,000 soldiers who died on the Ho Chi Minh trail during the Vietnam War. This is the largest cemetery for martyrs in the country.

martyrs, prisons, war, cemetery 

The Dong Loc T-junction in the central province of Ha Tinh, where ten female young volunteers sacrificed their lives for the country’s independence, has become familiar to most Vietnamese by name. During the wartime, the 50-ha T-junction was a strategic link between the north and the south that was hit by an estimated 48,600 bombs of all kinds in 240 days (from March-October 1968). In July, 1968, ten unmarried girls were killed while leveling craters and repairing the road there. The T-junction was later recognized as a national historical site with the posthumous “hero” title given to the ten martyrs.

martyrs, prisons, war, cemetery 

The incident of 81 days and nights (from June 28 to September 16, 1972) has made the ancient citadel of Quang Tri province well-known all over the world. By using fire-power, the South Vietnam puppet troops were determined to re-occupy Quang Tri Citadel within a couple of days. Quang Tri Town, therefore, had to suffer from the U.S. bombardment and shelling of 140 B52 aircraft. Within 40 days and nights it had suffered 80,000 tons of bombs – as many as those used in World War II on African battlefields in one month. Each inhabitant of this land had to suffer seven tons of bombs on average. All were determined, side by side with Quang Tri, to fight to their last breath. In order to commemorate the soldiers’ meritorious service, a monument was set up in the centre of the citadel as a symbol of the indomitable spirit of the Quang Tri people and army and as a token of gratitude to the sacrifices of the fallen soldiers for the independence and freedom of the nation.

martyrs, prisons, war, cemetery 

Ham Rong Bridge of Thanh Hoa Province, 163km south of Hanoi, is considered to be one of the symbols of the Vietnamese resistance and resilience during the war. Ham Rong Bridge was the only bridge across the Ma River ensuring the flow of men and war materials by road from north to south Vietnam.

martyrs, prisons, war, cemetery

Hien Luong Bridge and the Ben Hai River will be an enduring symbol of the everlasting desire for peace, national independence and reunification.

The Geneva Agreements on Vietnam signed in 1954 divided the country into North and South Vietnam at the 17th Parallel where the Ben Hai River runs through the central province of Quang Tri. The temporary division was only expected to last two years, but in fact it stood for 21 years through the great struggle for national reunification. Throughout this prolonged period, the Hien Luong Bridge in Vinh Thanh village in Vinh Linh district of Quang Tri province became a symbol of division, expectations and the pain of loss. The bridge represents the desire for national reunification. The soldiers and people of Quang Tri, and all of Vietnam, struggled bravely, loyally and heroically, leaving behind glorious pages in the history of the fight to achieve the current national independence. It was a political, diplomatic and military battlefield. War ended a long time ago and Hien Luong Bridge is a historic witness of Vietnam's tragic but ultimately victorious past.

martyrs, prisons, war, cemetery 

On April 10, 1972, 19 brave soldiers sacrificed their lives in a battle at the Quang Tri Bridge (now the Thach Han Bridge) spanning the Thach Han River during the Quang Tri campaign. At that time, 20 soldiers under platoon no 2, Division 304, fought against three enemy airborne and marine corps battalions, and a guard company under cover of tanks and artillery. These brave soldiers destroyed many enemy troops and tanks before their sacrifice. Only one soldier named Vu Ngoc Thanh who was heavily wounded survived. He was captured by the enemy and then imprisoned on Phu Quoc Island.

martyrs, prisons, war, cemetery 

The Battle at Dong Xuan Market, Hanoi, is one of the major battles considered as a symbol of the spirit of Hanoi people during the National Resistance begun in late 1946. During the battle from February 6 to 14, 1947, French troops occupied Dong Xuan but they had to pay a heavy price.

martyrs, prisons, war, cemetery 

Cu Chi tunnels were formed between 1946 and 1948 48 during the resistance war against French aggression. During the Vietnam War, the tunnels, built on an area of the so-called “Iron Land” in Southern Vietnam, were used as hospitals, communication and supply routes, and living quarters for Vietnamese soldiers. The tunnels, dug deep underground, can withstand destructive bombs. Air is taken in through the tunnel vents. The different areas of the system can be isolated when necessary. The system has three floors, with the first 3m deep and able to resist artillery, tanks and armored vehicles. The second floor is 5m deep underground and able to resist small bombs. The ground floor is 8-10m deep. The complex has been preserved as a war memorial and a tourist destination.

martyrs, prisons, war, cemetery 

The tunnels of Vinh Moc are known as having been a legend during the anti-US resistance war for national salvation, a vivid venue to educate the young generation about patriotism and a ’must’ for tourists. The spectacular tunnel network, also known as an underground village, attests to the endurance, wisdom and bravery of the local people in their fight for national liberation and independence.

With a total length of 2,034m, this underground network is linked with 13 doors (seven opening to the sea and six to the hills). The structure is divided into three layers, with the deepest being 22m. They are connected by a 769m long main axis, 1.5m to 1.8m in height and 1.1m to 2m in width. Along the two sides of the main axis are housing chambers with the capacity of 3-4 people each. There are also three water wells, a large meeting hall with a seating capacity of 50 to 80 people, which was used for meetings, film shows, art performances and even an operation room.

Deep beneath the dark earth, the people of Vinh Linh and Quang Tri lived for many years in these narrow tunnels. They survived, and even prospered in their makeshift underground community. During its 2000 days of existence, around 1,200 people lived in the tunnels; as many as 17 children were born inside the tunnels as well. Under the cover of these tunnels, no casualties were reported even through these fierce years of war, highlighting the great value and significance of the Vinh Moc Tunnels, a marvelous story about the land and people here.

Time goes by, and the Vinh Moc tunnels have become both a historical evidence and a tourist destination for those who want to discover a heroic period of Vietnam’s modern history.

martyrs, prisons, war, cemetery

500km to the West of Hanoi, the battle ground in Dien Bien Phu is a well-known site marking the victorious exploit of Vietnamese people in the Indochina War. This was the place where the courageous soldiers of the Vietnamese army fought and won the 55-day battle (March 13th – May 7th 1954) against the French Union. The victory caught the attention of the international community, leading to the end of the war in Vietnam within a few months.

martyrs, prisons, war, cemetery 

The Battle of Khe Sanh in Quang Tri province, which took place from January 21 to July 9 in 1968 during the Vietnam War, is compared to the “battle of Dien Bien Phu” in the conflict with the French. The Khe Sanh event was a very fierce battle with the sacrifice of thousands of liberation soldiers who eventually broke the electronic fence of the U.S. army in Ta Con, a key military base.

martyrs, prisons, war, cemetery 

During the 113 years of existence, Con Dao Prison, on Con Dao Island of the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, has been the landmark for the indomitable struggle, resilience, iron will of tens of thousands of communists in the struggle against the French colonialists and the U.S. imperialists. About 20,000 Vietnamese patriots died here.

martyrs, prisons, war, cemetery 

Hoa Lo Prison was built in Hanoi by the French from 1886–1889 and 1898-1901. The French called it “Maison Centrale” - a traditional euphemism to denote prisons in France. It was intended to hold Vietnamese prisoners, particularly political prisoners agitating for independence who were often subject to torture and execution.

A 1913 renovation expanded its capacity from 460 inmates to 600. It was often overcrowded, holding some 730 prisoners on a given day in 1916, a figure which would rise to 895 in 1922 and 1,430 in 1933. By 1954 it held more than 2000 people; with its inmates held in subhuman conditions, it had become a symbol of colonialist exploitation.

Many leading revolutionaries were incarcerated here during the French colonial period, including Phan Boi Chau, Hoang Trong Mau, Luong Van Can, Nguyen Quyen, Nguyen Luong Bang and five future General Secretaries of the Communist Party - Nguyen Van Cu, Le Duan, Truong Chinh, Nguyen Van Linh and Do Muoi.

Between 1964 and 1973 the prison’s inmates included several captured American pilots, notably Senator John McCain and Douglas 'Pete' Peterson, America’s first Ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The prison is known widely by the nickname ‘Hanoi Hilton’ given to it by the Americans.

Most of the original prison was demolished in 1996 to make way for the Hanoi Towers (now Somerset Grand Hanoi) serviced apartment and office complex, but the southernmost corner has been preserved and reopened to the public as a memorial to the revolutionaries who died there in atrocious conditions.

Visitors can view the original cells, complete with leg irons, along with a selection of bilingual (Vietnamese and English) displays illustrating the horrors of life in the prison during the French colonial period, which was called “A Hell on Earth”.

martyrs, prisons, war, cemetery 

Lao Bao Prison is a prison situated in Lao Bao, Quang Tri, in the village of Duy Tan, Tan Thanh commune, Huong Hoa district. The prison was constructed in 1908 by the French colonists on an area of about 10 ha, completely isolated from populated areas. The prison was one of five prisons in French Indochina at that time. The prison was built for local political prisoners. Today, this prison is classified as a special historical site by the Vietnamese government, and is also a popular tourist destination.

martyrs, prisons, war, cemetery 

Coconut Tree Prison is one of Phu Quoc Island’s historical sites. The prison was built by the French colonial administration before World War II and was later used by the Americans during the Vietnam War to house tens of thousands of prisoners, in its heyday covered an area of over 40 hectares housing an estimated peak of 40,000 VC prisons during the Vietnam War. Across the road from the prison there is a large commemorative monument, with plans to build a decent museum, to replace the small shed that currently exists there (open Tues - Sun 7.30am to 11am & 1.30pm to 5pm).



Kien Thuc

martyrs, prisons, war, cemetery
 
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