|Tranquil waters: The Quang Ngai Province's Ly Son island district will construct a Hoang Sa Monument in commemoration of civilians and sailors who died protecting the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands of Viet Nam. — VNS Photo Cong Thanh
QUANG NGAI (VNS) — The Ly Son island district in the central province of Quang Ngai in collaboration with Viet Nam's Labour Confederation will construct a monument in commemoration of civilians and sailors who died during long voyages to protect the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands of Viet Nam.
Vice Chairwoman of the district Pham Thi Huong said the monument will be built on a 2ha area near Hang Pagoda on the island with an investment of VND60 billion (US$2.85 million).
She said the construction is scheduled to begin in January.
The monument named Hoang Sa, designed by the Viet Tin Company, features an image of a mother lighting a fire, which symbolises the nation's protection of the islands by representing a mother who shines a light towards the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa islands while waiting for her sons to return in hopes that they are still alive.
A stone laying ceremony for the monument will be held on the island on January 11.
In 2013, the Hoang Sa Festival was recognised as an intangible cultural heritage site by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Observed for hundreds of years by families on the Ly Son islands, the festival pays tribute to local men who enlisted in the Hoang Sa Flotilla. This group was organised to patrol the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos in order to mine resources and defend the nation's sovereignty over the area during the Nguyen Dynasty (around the 17th century).
Ly Son Island, 30km off the coast of Quang Ngai, is a tranquil destination with 21,000 inhabitants, most of whom make their living from farming garlic and spring onion and fishing.
It was formed by five mountains, of which four are dormant volcanoes.
Centuries-old houses have been preserved, as has Am Linh Pagoda, built to worship the souls of sailors who died during long voyages to Hoang Sa and Truong islands in the 17th century.
A local museum displays over 200 ancient documents and 100 exhibits that prove that Hoang Sa and Truong Sa islands belong to Viet Nam. — VNS