|HCM City Youth Union members light candles to pay tribute to heroes and war invalids at a cemetery in the city on the occasion of the 68th War Invalids' and Martyrs' Day. — VNA/VNS Photo An Hieu
HA NOI (VNS) — The country's leaders laid wreaths and offered incense at the Monument to Heroes and Martyrs on the 68th War Invalids' and Martyrs' Day yesterday.
Among the attendants were Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, former Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh, President Truong Tan Sang, former President Tran Duc Luong, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung, and former National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Van An.
The delegation also paid tribute to President Ho Chi Minh at his mausoleum.
On the same day, President Sang hosted a reception for a delegation of veterans from Division 313 and 314 in Military Zone 2 to mark the occasion.
The veterans, who fought to protect the nation in border battlefields with China in Vi Xuyen District in the northern province of Ha Giang recalled their memories of fierce battles from 1984-1988.
As the key mobile force in Military Zone 2, their victory in a number of big battles firmly preserved the nation's territory and border.
The veterans said they hoped the Party and State would continue its efforts to complete preferential policies for war invalids.
The President said the Party, State and people always remembered the sacrifices of heroes and martyrs.
He urged the Liaison Board for Veterans to collaborate with the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) as well as localities to speed up the search and gathering of martyrs remains and ensure that their families were looked after.
The President also called for war veterans to help prepare for Party congresses at all levels leading up to the 12th National Party Congress.
The provinces of Quang Tri, Soc Trang, Can Tho, Quang Nam and Lao Cai yesterday organised activities to commemorate the day.
In the central province of Quang Tri's Vinh Linh District, the Youth Union held a service for fallen soldiers and erected a memorial stele. The memorial, covering 500sq.m. is a tribute to fallen soldiers on Con Co Island during the American War. The work cost VND450 million (US$20,600).
The Youth Union also offered gifts to war heroes, invalids and the families of martyrs.
Meanwhile, in the southern province of Soc Trang, 11 delegations were used to distribute a total of VND5 billion (US$240,000) as a gift from the State President to underprivileged families. Yesterday, provincial leaders and local people laid wreaths and offered incense at the provincial martyrs' cemetery. Soc Trang Province lost 15,322 soldiers and has 6,579 war invalids.
In northern Lao Cai Province, the provincial Party secretary headed a delegation offering incense at President Ho Chi Minh Memorial Stele and Martyr's Monument.
The province has given VND4.75 billion (US$230,000) for 95 families who were great contributors to the revolution. The money is to build homes for them.
Last night, incence and candle lighting were held in 3,000 martyrs' cemeteries nation-wide to tribute the fallen soldiers.
Remains need DNA tests
According to labour minister Pham Thi Hai Chuyen, the work of identification for martyrs has achieved progress in recent years.
The Party and State have designated the ministry to set up a large-scale plan of identification of fallen soldiers' remains.
The remains of more than 8,000 unidentified war martyrs have been sent for DNA testing in an effort to identify them.
Chuyen said the ministry had co-operated with three genetic analysis centres, the Institute of Biotechnology, the Institute of Biochemical and Professional Documents, and the National Institute of Forensic Medicine, to take DNA samples from the remains.
The ministry has also taken 2,000 DNA samples from the relatives of those killed in action so that they can be compared.
Regarding military personnel killed during the resistance war against the United States, Chuyen said the Party and State had created supportive policies for their families.
The Party gives preferential treatment to the children of war martyrs, including financial assistance to buy books and exemption from school fees.
Chuyen also said that the had specific policies for those affected by Agent Orange and their children.
People living in areas affected by Agent Orange suffer from up to 17 types of disease. After being assessed, they receive support. Their children, who often suffer from physical abnormalities, are also eligible.
Currently, the third generation of children sufferers are not given assistance. However, the ministry will propose that the Government produce studies on the impact of the hazardous substance on this generation. — VNS