The memorial service at the General’s house closes

VietNamNet Bridge – On the last day open for memorial services at General Vo Nguyen Giap’s house, thousands of people queued from 3am in front of the house.

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Nearly 5pm, on the sidewalk of Hoang Dieu Street, a stream of people was moving toward the house No. 30, one by one. The security, civil defense and voluntary youth forces were more crowded than usual. The volunteers held hands of each other to make way for the visitors.

People lined up for kilometers waiting for their turn to pay respect to the beloved General. From Dien Bien Phu to Hoang Van Thu Road, making a round. Among them, many people had been queuing from early morning.

Standing at the end of the line at the Ba Dinh Square was a group of seven Nung ethnic students from the Cao Bang Teacher Training College from Cao Bang Province. They caught a bus at 9pm on October 9 and passed over 300 km to Hanoi in the hope of burning incenses to General Vo Nguyen Giap at his home.

At 5am on October 10 they arrived in Hanoi but owing to getting car-sick and losing their way, they began joining the stream of people in front of the General’s house at 12.30am. After several houses of queuing, they were still at the bottom of the line. They were very worried that they could not pay homage to the General.

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On October 10, doctors treated 50 people who were exhausted and two of them were brought to the Saint Paul Hospital. Photo: VNE

They heard from their parents about the General and his merits to the land of Cao Bang. Therefore, when the General died, these young people brought little gifts from their homeland to the capital to worship the General.

Their families are poor farmers. Many family members wished to go to Hanoi to burn incense for the General but they could not. The team leader - Dan Van Ly, 25, said the family had sold a pig to have traveling expenses for him.

"If tonight we cannot enter the house to pay our respect to the General, we will have to come back because we only have enough money to buy bus tickets to return home," Dan said sadly.

Among the last people who came to pay respect to General Giap, Mr. Tran Tu Chi, 66, said he had just got off the plane and drove straight to this place. Chi lives in France and immediately hearing the news about the death of General Giap, he sought way to return to Vietnam but finally he could only arrange a flight to return home yesterday.

According to the original announcement, the memorial service would end at 6pm, so Mr. Chi ascertained that he did not have a chance but he still queued under the sun. Chi said if he could not enter the house, he would not be said because he did his best. “It is important that my heart is for the Minister," Chi said.

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The last flower basket brought to the home of General Vo Nguyen Giap.

Mr. Vo Hong Nam, the General’s son on the night of October 9, on behalf of the family, said sorry to the people for the early closing of the memorial service at the house to ensure that the state funeral to be held thoughtful and completely. The memorial service was previously scheduled to end on October 11 but it closed at 8pm on October 10.

However, a few minutes before the house closed, thousands of people still queued for a kilometer. Many people brought bread and water to give to the visitors for free.

At 9.30pm, the door was closed. Thousands of people surrounded the house. Their flower baskets were received by soldiers to place on the house’s garden. Hundreds of young people burned candles and placed them in front of the house.

12am today, October 11, the flag is to be flowed at half-mast at the square in front of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, starting the two day state funeral for the General.

Tran Cham

vo nguyen giap