Requiem for Hanoi: Remembering Tragedies of the Past and Present

A requiem was held in Hanoi for victims and Vietnamese and foreign soldiers who died while protecting the country during a U.S. airstrike in December 1972 along with deceased victims of Covid-19.
December 22, 2021 | 17:19
Requiem in Hanoi for Victims, Martyrs in 1972 Bombing and Covid Victims
Delegates light incense in the memorial ceremony. Source: HAUFO

A requiem was held at Ba Da Pagoda in Hanoi on Dec. 22 to pray for victims and soldiers who died while protecting the country during a U.S. airstrike in December 1972 as well as deceased victims of Covid-19.

The event was organized by the Vietnam Peace Committee, Hanoi Peace Committee and the city’s chapter of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha on the occasion of the 77th founding anniversary of the Vietnam People’s Army (Dec.22, 1944) and the 49th anniversary of victory of “aerial Dien Bien Phu battle" (Dec.18, 1972).

Most Venerable Thich Bao Nghiem, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha Executive Council, Head of the Executive Board of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha in Hanoi, and Vice President of the Vietnam Peace Committee presided over the ceremony.

Attending the ceremony were Vice President of Vietnam Peace Committee Tran Dac Loi; Vice President of Hanoi Union of Friendship Organizations (HAUFO) Tran Thi Phuong; President of the Hanoi Peace Committee Nguyen Thi Ngoc Thanh and representatives of departments, agencies and branches of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem District and monks, nuns and Buddhists.

Speaking at the ceremony, President of the Hanoi Peace Committee Nguyen Thi Ngoc Thanh emphasized that the war has passed, and the painful past is gradually coming to an end. "However," continued the peace activist, "we will never forget the noble sacrifices of outstanding heroes from all over the country who sacrificed their lives for the national independence of the Fatherland. Especially, for every Hanoian, the memory of 12 days and nights “Hanoi – Dien Bien Phu battle in the air” always resonates like an epic about Hanoi."

Thanh said that after nearly two years, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused heavy losses to the whole world, including Vietnam. Upholding the nation's cultural tradition of "loving others as if you love yourself", tens of thousands of officials, medical staff, and soldiers of the armed forces have not afraid of difficulties and danger, working selflessly, devoting all to taking care of the sick inside many Covid hotspots. The unprecedented, fast-spreading, extremely dangerous disease, has claimed the lives of more than 30,000 people.

The praying ceremony is also an occasion to remember them, Thanh stressed. They are exemplary citizens, industrious workers, dedicated cadres, devoted doctors, brave soldiers, enthusiastic volunteers, wholeheartedly for the community.

Requiem in Hanoi for Victims, Martyrs in 1972 Bombing and Covid Victims
Those who attended the memorial ceremony took a minute of silence to remember the deceased. Source: HAUFO

During the ceremony, participants attended prayers for spiritual uplifting and offered incense to solders and ordinary people killed by B52 bombing in 1972 in Hanoi along with those who died in the pandemic.

As of Dec. 21, Vietnam has documented 30,041 coronavirus-related fatalities nationwide, according to the Ministry of Health. The country has logged over 1,571,780 infections and 1,160,090 recoveries since the Covid-19 pandemic first hit it early last year.

The U.S. waged a bombing campaign in the north of Vietnam in late 1972, and the peak of this campaign was the bombing blitz by B52 aircraft in Hanoi.

In the night of Dec. 26, 1972, Hanoi’s densely-populated residential areas, including Kham Thien street, the workers’ living quarter in An Duong street and even Bach Mai hospital, were relentlessly attacked by a large number of the U.S.’s B52 aircraft, known in Vietnam as "Dien Bien Phu in the Air” and in the West as the 1972 Christmas bombing.

It was the last U.S. military campaign during the war and lasted for 12 days from Dec.18 to 29.

278 people, including 91 women, 40 elderly and 55 children were killed and 178 children became orphans during that air raid.

In remembrance of the victims, a memorial was erected on the used-to-be House 51 on Kham Thien street. In the Dec. 26 bombing, House 51 was destroyed and none of the seven people living in it survived.

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Hannah Nguyen

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