|A soldier of the Military Region 5 offers incense to the Greek hero of the Việt Nam People's Armed Forces, Kostas Sarantidis Nguyễn Văn Lập. VNA/VNS Photo Trần Lê Lâm|
ĐÀ NẴNG – A memorial service for Kostas Sarantidis, the only foreigner to ever be honoured with the title of Hero of the People's Armed Forces of Việt Nam, took place at the Military Region 5 Funeral Home in central Đà Nẵng City on Tuesday.
Representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese, the General Department of Politics, leaders of the Military Region 5, and leaders of Đà Nẵng City attended the service.
Major General Trương Thiên Tô, Deputy Political Commissar of Military Region 5 and head of the Funeral Organising Committee, said the Greek soldier, with the Vietnamese name Nguyễn Văn Lập, had fought alongside Vietnamese comrades against French colonialists.
Việt Nam was the second homeland of the soldier, he said.
After a serious illness, Sarantidis passed away on June 25, 2021 in his home country of Greece. He was 94 years old.
|Kostas Sarantidis, the sole foreigner honoured with the title of Hero of the People's Armed Forces of Việt Nam. Photo baochinhphu.vn|
Kostas Sarantidis was born in Thessaloniki, Greece, in 1927. He was drafted into the German army in 1943, aged just 16.
After World War II, he could not return home due to a lack of identity documents and so joined the French Foreign Legion, being sent to Indochina in 1946.
Soon after Sarantidis set foot in Sài Gòn (now HCM City), he decided to follow the Việt Minh (the short name for Vietnam Independence League) as he had witnessed the invaders' cruelty towards the Vietnamese people. He joined and realised the aspirations of the Vietnamese revolution.
|The Greek hero's coffin. — VNA/VNS Photo|
He was given the Vietnamese name Nguyễn Văn Lập and served in various posts and participated in many battles.
The soldier made various accomplishments during his service and was presented with awards from the Party and State.
He was honoured with the Friendship Order and received Vietnamese citizenship in 2010, and was awarded the title of 'Hero of the People's Armed Forces of Vietnam' in 2013.
Major General Trương Thiên Tô emphasised that the death of revolutionary soldier Kostas Sarantidis Nguyễn Văn Lập caused great grief for his family, friends and Vietnamese comrades.
The Party and State lost a soldier who made great contributions to national liberation, he said.
Following his will, the Vietnamese Government coordinated with the Greek Government and his family to organise the transfer of his ashes to Việt Nam.
Major General Tô received the ashes on August 1 at Đà Nẵng International Airport.
The burial ceremony occurred on the same day at the City Military Region 5 Funeral Home. – VNS