Nation bids final farewell
|The convoy carrying General Vo Nguyen Giap's body passes through Xuan Thuy-Pham Van Dong intersection in Ha Noi yesterday on its way to Noi Bai International Airport. — VNA Photo
QUANG BINH (VNS0— Thousands of mourners waited for hours along the 70-km road from Dong Hoi Airport to General Vo Nguyen Giap's final resting place in Vung Chua - Yen Island area yesterday.
Two aircraft, which took off earlier from Ha Noi following his state funeral, landed at Dong Hoi Airport at around 11:35 a.m yesterday. One carried his body and family members, and the other leaders of the Party, State and Government to attend the final service.
As it landed, people chanted "The General has returned home."
Thousands were present at the burial site to pay their last respects to their beloved General, many holding his portrait, waiting for the cortege.
"My family arrived here at 5 a.m," said Tran Khanh Vinh, a resident of Le Thuy, Quang Binh, the late general's hometown. "We want to wait, no matter how long it takes to see him reach his final place."
Nguyen Thi Ly, a resident from Ky Anh District, Ha Tinh Province, said she arrived at the site around 10 a.m. "I didn't bother eating anything. I just want to be here."
Earlier, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese mourners lined the streets of Ha Noi to bid farewell to the General as a gun carriage carried his flag-draped coffin from the national funeral house to Noi Bai airport.
Waiting for the funeral procession amid the sea of people on Le Thanh Tong Street, Nguyen Thi Nai from Yen Bai Province seemed to be exhausted after having spent a nearly sleepless night waiting outside the state funeral house where the general's body was laid in state.
"I hope he will feel at peace after all those years working and fighting for this nation," she said.
|As millions mourn General Vo Nguyen Giap, a child in Ha Noi stands silently watching the funeral convoy yesterday. — VNS Photo Truong Vi
At the memorial service held at the national funeral house on Le Thanh Tong, leaders of the Party, State, Government and National Assembly, former Party and State leaders, armed forces, international friends and thousands of Vietnamese from all walks of life gathered.
In a moving eulogy, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, head of the national funeral committee, described General Giap as an inspirational leader of the Vietnamese Party, State and people, an excellent student of President Ho Chi Minh, a steadfast revolutionary fighter and the first General of the Viet Nam Peoples' Army.
The Party leader stated that the General's death was a great loss to the Party, State, people and his family, leaving behind a huge void to his comrades, fellow countrymen and international friends.
Reviewing his revolutionary life, Trong said that for over 80 years General Giap had worked tirelessly to contribute to the revolutionary cause of the Party and the nation.
He added that the General's name will forever be entwined with Viet Nam's s glorious triumph in the two resistance wars against oppressive French and US forces, as well as the subsequent national construction and defence.
On behalf of General Giap's family, his eldest son, Vo Dien Bien, expressed his deep gratitude to the Party, State, Government, Fatherland Front, army and people nationwide, as well as to representatives from foreign countries, the diplomatic corps, international organisations, and global friends for their warm sentiments towards the General.
He also thanked the professors, doctors, nurses and staff of the Central Military Hospital 108 for their whole-hearted devotion to the care of his father.
Viet Nam observed national mourning for General Giap between October 11 and October 13, halting all entertainment activities during the national funeral.
On Saturday, as many as 20,000 people lined up to say farewell at the national funeral house on Le Thanh Tong Street.
At the same time, the Thong Nhat Hall in HCM City received 770 delegations with over 80,000 people coming to pay homage to the General, including 27 delegations from international organisations and agencies in the city.
Among foreign leaders at the event were General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party and President of Laos Choummaly Sayasone, and Honorary Chairman of the Cambodian People's Party and Chairman of the Cambodian National Assembly Heng Samrin.
During his 80 years of revolutionary activities, General Giap, who used to be a history teacher, devoted his life to the nation and people. He is a legendary war hero, leading the country to victory over the French and then the Americans.
He passed away on October 4 at the age of 103. — VNS