|Never forget: Buddists across the country join together in a prayer for the dead. |Viet Nam News
Thousands gathered at central Quảng Trị Citadel last week for a mass ceremony to pray for fallen soldiers of the historic summer 1972 battle for the citadel.
The battle, which raged for 81 days, went down as one of the bloodiest battles in Vietnamese history, with casualties from both sides estimated at nearly 20,000.
B52 bombers, U.S 7th Fleet and thousands of artillery pieces during the 81-day battle almost leveled the structure and the small town of over 10,000 houses that surrounded it.
Mass ceremonies are held annually around mid-July to pray for all those who died from both sides, with thousands of paper lanterns lit and released on the Thạch Hãn River. During the battle, thousands of liberation army soldiers made the perilous journey cross the river to enter the citadel.
On the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the 72 battle this year, some 30,000 paper lanterns lit up the entire water of Bích La Dock, one of many assembly points of the liberation army before crossing the river. — VNS
|Fallen brothers: Veterans of the battle gather in the thousands every year to remember and honour their comrades. |
|Eternal bond: Family members release flowers and paper lanterns on the river to honour their fallen kins. |
|Beautiful path: A trail made of flowers and lanterns to guide lost souls back to their home. |
|Glowing night: Paper lanterns float down the Thạch Hãn River during a mass ceremony to pray for the dead of the summer 1972 battle for Quảng Trị Citadel. — Photos Đoàn Tùng|