|Thousands of Vietnamese people from everywhere in the country flock to General Vo Nguyen Giap's house in Ha Noi's Hoang Dieu Street to mourn for him. — VNA/VNS Photo Duong Giang
HA NOI (VNS)— People in Giap's hometown could not hold back their tears when they heard about their beloved General's death.
Nguyen Tu Phap, former Secretary of Le Thuy District's Party Committee, said that he was very lucky to have met the General on several occasions to discuss the development of the homeland.
Thanks to the General's help, the district had achieved work that they had never thought possible, Phap stressed.
He gave an example that for years, the two sides of the Kien Giang River were encroached on by more than 260 shops and inns that effected the surrounding environment, despite local authorities' efforts to remove them.
However, after receiving a letter from General Giap, the shop owners voluntarily moved to other locations to protect the natural beauty of the river and environment, in just two months.
Holding a postcard from Giap in her hand, 76-year-old Vo Thi Lai said she couldn't believe her ears when she was told about the unexpected loss.
She said in a voice choked with emotion that just few days ago, the General and his family had sent messages of encouragement to residents in Loc Thuy Commune to overcome the damage caused by the recent floods.
Vo Dai Ham, a nephew of General Giap who has been overseeing Giap's house in the commune for the past 30 years, said he couldn't sleep. Whenever he closed his eyes, memories came flooding back.
In the house, many books and pictures of Giap's life have been carefully preserved.
|General Vo Nguyen Giap (first, right) discussed with President Ho Chi Minh (middle) on the battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954. — VNA File Photo
Local residents and people from other provinces could not hide their sadness.
Nguyen Xuan Tan from Quang Binh province travelled to the house to burn incense out of respect for the General.
For people in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien, Giap is a guardian angel.
Mua A Sau, an 80-year-old revolutionary veteran from Dien Bien Phu, said that in his childhood, people often dreamed of roads, schools and hospitals. Now, their dreams have come true, thanks to President Ho Chi Minh and General Vo Nguyen Giap's services.
"I dreamed that on the 60th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu Victory (7/5/2014), the General would be able to greet local people, or at least send a message. Today, he has gone forever, so my wish will never be realised."
Yesterday afternoon, at 30 Hoang Dieu Street, Ha Noi, thousands of people silently lined up, waiting for their turn to step into the house where Giap's family lives to share their condolences with the family.
Among them were the elderly, youths and foreigners.
Luu Hong Anh from Hoang Mai District said: "My grandfather worked under General Giap's leadership. When he was alive, he often told me stories which are still in my heart and mind, so I feel close to the General."
Rapha Krishnan from India, praised the General as a great leader who was ready to sacrifice himself for the nation. He said he admired the country's struggle for liberation and bowed in deep respect to the General.
Vo Hoa Binh, one of General Giap's daughters, said: "In the past few days, people from all over the country have gathered at the house to offer their condolences. Our family respects their feelings, so we decided to open the doors and welcome them."
The family will continue to welcome those who wish to pay their respects to the General until Friday, from 8am to 11.30am and from 2pm to 4pm.
In a condolence letter sent to the Vietnamese Party, Government and people, Cuba's President Raul Castro said the country shared the great loss by the fraternal Vietnamese people of "the legendary liberation fighter."
General Giap is always Cuba's close friend, he affirmed.
In Venezuela, President Nocolas Maduro also said that although General Giap passed away, yet he left an example of wisdom and bravery. — VNS