|Leaders of Quảng Ngãi Province on Thursday offered incense and paid their respects to the 504 civilian victims of the Sơn Mỹ massacre on the 55th anniversary of the atrocity. — VNA/VNS Photo Đinh Hương|
QUẢNG NGÃI — In a solemn ceremony held on Thursday, the People's Committee of central Quảng Ngãi Province paid tribute to the memory of the 504 innocent civilians killed by US troops 55 years ago during the Sơn Mỹ massacre.
The event took place at the Sơn Mỹ memorial site in Tịnh Khê Commune, Quảng Ngãi, where family members and local officials gathered to honour the victims and remember the tragedy that forever scarred the region.
Addressing the event, the Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Nguyễn Tiến Dũng, said that on the morning of March 16, 1968, 504 Sơn Mỹ residents, mostly the elderly, women and children, were "brutally and tragically" killed at the height of the war against US aggression in Việt Nam.
Since then, Sơn Mỹ has been remembered by the entire Vietnamese nation and people of conscience around the world.
The Sơn Mỹ massacre was not unique, but came to represent the violent crimes that belligerent forces inflicted upon the people of Quảng Ngãi and Việt Nam during the war, and also typified the ultimate pain Vietnamese people suffered, the official said.
After the war ended, Sơn Mỹ residents overcame their pain to sincerely welcome back US war veterans so that they could face the truth and find solace in a land of rebirth, closing painful chapters from the past and looking toward a future of peace and progressiveness, Dũng said.
The official noted that Sơn Mỹ has gradually recovered, thanks to the Party and State’s attention, assistance from compatriots nationwide and international friends, and especially the industriousness of residents.
The 55th anniversary of the massacre is an occasion to commemorate the victims, pray for peace, and, most importantly, take practical actions to heal the wounds of the past and develop life to ensure happiness for all, Dũng added.
At the ceremony, following four rounds of bell ringing, Quảng Ngãi officials and other participants observed a minute of silence and offered incense to commemorate the 504 civilians that were killed.
The mass killing, also called the Mỹ Lai massacre, took its name from one of the four hamlets where it happened.
|Two Vietnamese children on a road at Sơn Mỹ Village on March 16, 1968. — Photo by Ronald L. Haeberle|
On Wednesday, a press conference was held in Quảng Ngãi Province to announce the content of the agreement on the right to use a US-based photographer's works on the massacre.
Photographer Ronald L. Haeberle's images of the incident were published in the US’s Life magazine in 1969, bringing to public attention the atrocity that occurred during the US war in Việt Nam and contributing to the anti-war sentiments in the US and around the world at the time.
On March 8, the provincial People's Committee signed an agreement with the photographer to license the use and display of the Sơn Mỹ massacre photos at the Sơn Mỹ memorial site with the caption "Photos taken by Ronald L. Haeberle", following his visit to the site. — VNS