President Nguyen Minh Triet delivers a speech at the ceremony. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Xuan Tan
HA NOI — The Party Central Committee, the National Assembly, the State President, the Government and the Fatherland Front (VFF) have held a grand ceremony to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the liberation of the south (April 30).
Prominent among those present at the ceremony were Party Secretary General Nong Duc Manh and his predecessors, Do Muoi and Le Kha Phieu, President Nguyen Minh Triet, former president Tran Duc Luong, NA Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong and Chairman of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front Central Committee Huynh Dam.
Other Party and Government high ranking officials also joined the event with revolutionary veterans, Vietnamese heroic mothers, heroes of the armed forces and labour, and leaders of ministries, agencies and mass organisations as well as representatives of foreign diplomatic corps in Ha Noi.
Addressing the ceremony, President Triet said the people of Viet Nam would always remember with gratitude the actions of late President Ho Chi Minh and former party leaders, revolutionary soldiers and those who laid down their lives for peace and independence.
The 1975 Great Spring Victory was also a victory of international friendship and solidarity, said Triet while expressing thanks to the governments and people of Russia, China, Laos, Cambodia and Cuba as well as the international community for their support during the war.
He emphasised that the victory turned a new page in the nation's history, and was a glorious landmark, both for the nation itself in its long history of unceasing struggles against foreign invasions, and in the history of the world, in which it figures as one of the great triumphs of the 20th century.
After nearly 25 years of renewal, Viet Nam's economy has steadily grown while socio-political stability and national defence have been strengthened. The country's status in the international arena has been lifted while the standard of living has increasingly improved.
These achievements attest to the sound leadership of the Party as well as the solidarity and combined efforts of the entire Party, people and armed forces.
In the future, the President said, the Party, Government and people would continue to bring into play the nation's strength, step up the renewal process, build a more transparent political system, boost economic development and improve the socio-economic and cultural lives of all the people.
He reiterated Viet Nam's consistent foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, co-operation and development, multilateralisation of foreign relations, and initiative in international integration.
In the coming time, the Party will start congresses at all levels to prepare for the 11th National Party Congress. Triet emphasised the most important task in this context was to promote democracy and mobilise the intellectual power of the whole Party and people.
He also reaffirmed Viet Nam's commitment to pursuing its targets along the road to socialism.
Also on the same day, a delegation headed by Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh laid a wreath at the Martyrs' Memorial.
On Friday, a grand meeting was also held in HCM City with the participation of 50,000 officials, soldiers and local people.
Thirty-five years ago, the now HCM City, the last strategic destination of the historic Ho Chi Minh Campaign, witnessed the complete triumph of Viet Nam's war against the US aggressors which subsequently led to the country's reunification.
Speaking at the event, Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Le Thanh Hai said "In our history of wars against foreign aggressors, the encounter with the US imperialists was extremely fierce. For complete victory, the Vietnamese people surmounted enormous difficulties and fierce challenges."
By launching the general offensive with the historic Ho Chi Minh Campaign reaching its climax on April 30, 1975, the army, in conjunction with the people, fought hard to achieve total liberation, resulting in national reunification, Hai emphasised.
"This victory will live forever as one of the most glorious pages in our history and it stands as a shining symbol of the nation's revolutionary heroism and the brainpower of the people. It figures as one of the most outstanding events of the 20th century, bearing international significance and representing a profound subject for discussion," he remarked.
He said that since the Great Spring Victory, the people of HCM City had firmly upheld the revolutionary spirit and solidarity they had during the war and used it to develop the city.
Having pursued renewal for nearly 25 years, HCM City is now among only a few cities across the world that has registered a double-digit economic growth rate consecutively over the recent years.
With its contribution of 20 per cent to the nation's GDP and 30 per cent to the State budget, the city has confirmed its role as a driving force behind the development of the national economy.
On behalf of the Party and State, President Nguyen Minh Triet presented the Gold Star Order to HCM City, the second time the city has received the State's highest distinction.
The celebration was highlighted by parades of the armed forces, war veterans, workers, farmers, professionals, young people and children, women, businesspeople, and representatives of other forces.
Fireworks shows were set off at 9pm on the same day in the country's major cities and localities to mark the event.
"Villagers back in our home district Cu Chi stage parties, big and small, and hoist national flags to celebrate the day," said Huynh Van Muot, 64, a war veteran in Cu Chi District's Thai My Commune.
"April 30 is a monumental day for the country, and we're glad to be here today to witness the parade and procession," he said.
Muot said he and more than 200 farmers set off at 3 am in Cu Chi District and arrived at the site at 6am.
"The day is always remembered since it was on that day that the war ended indefinitely and the country was finally re-unified," he said adding, "There was no more shelling and killing."
Muot said he had "naturally" joined the revolutionary army to fight the Americans who killed many of his siblings and relatives.
His life was now much better than it was 35 years ago, said the veteran who is now an invalid farmer, noting that he could access bank loans every year.
Pham Thi Chan, 49, chairwoman of the Women's Association of Binh Chanh District's Binh Hung Commune, said she was in the streets to welcome the revolutionary soldiers on the day 35 years ago.
Young as she was at the time, she did not really understand what was happening, but ‘everyone was jubilant' that the country was already liberated.
Chan said she was so eager to join every movement following the liberation, because "we felt it was our responsibilities to contribute to building the country which was then already liberated."
Phan Van Ket, 75, a retired official of the Ministry of Foreign Trade, said he had travelled all the way from his home in the northern city of Hai Phong to be present at the ceremony.
"I was determined to be here today by all means," he said, adding that it was the first time ever he had witnessed a victory parade with his own eyes.
"I followed every progress the liberation campaign since its first days, and tears streamed down my face upon learning about the victory," he said.
Ket said he believed that HCM City was developing stronger and faster than other cities in the region.
"Vietnamese people are diligent and intelligent," said Ket, who has travelled to many countries, including France, the US, Canada and China. — VNS