The iconic photograph of a Vietnamese Army tank going through the gate of Sài Gòn’s - now known as Hồ Chí Minh City - Independence Palace on April 30, 1975, marking marking the end of a long and bloody war against US. The photo was taken by war journalist Trần Mai Hưởng former General Director of Vietnam News Agency and Editor-in-chief of Việt Nam News. — VNS File Photo
HÀ NAM — A group of former war journalists, soldiers and tank drivers recently met in Hà Nam Province to recall their memories of Việt Nam’s war against the US prior to Reunification Day on April 30th.
Among them were war journalist Trần Mai Hưởng (former General Director of Vietnam News Agency and Editor-in-chief of Việt Nam News) who took the iconic photograph of a Vietnamese Army tank going through the gate of Sài Gòn’s - now known as Hồ Chí Minh City - Independence Palace on April 30, 1975.
The photo captured a historic moment in Vietnamese history, marking the end of a long and bloody war.
“I met up with the tank drivers that I had the chance to photograph. We all feel like close friends even though we meet only once a year. This is the time for us to recall arduous fights and unforgettable memories,” Hưởng said.
“I still vividly remember the fierce battles that I covered. The reunification day is also a memorable time. I would never forget the moment when the tank headed to the Independence Palace on April 30, 1975,” said Hưởng.
The meeting this year took place in the hometown of soldier Trần Bình Yên, who worked as a driver in the war and was among those featured in Hưởng’s iconic photograph.
After the war against the US, Yên also fought in the northern border war against China and then went back to his hometown in Hà Nam to settle down.
Yên made a living with his bare hands and rented 2ha of land to grow fruit and raise cattle. Nowadays, he has 1,000 custard apple trees along with other types of vegetables and a house on the foot of a mountain in Ba Sao Town in Hà Nam.
Like Yên, other soldiers including Nguyễn Ngọc Quý returned to his hometown to breed fish and grow vegetables.
“They were once the heroes in wartime that took part in some of the most brutal fights but now they live a normal life with their families,” said Hưởng.
The tough years taught the values of life, that being alive is a gift given by millions of soldiers who died for the nation’s independence, said Hưởng.
April 30 this year will be the 44th anniversary of the conclusive end of the Việt Nam War and unification of the country. — VNS