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US veteran sends roses to commemorate victims of Son My massacre

March 19, 2021 | 07:26

A US war veteran who used to fight in Vietnam, has sent 504 roses to the incense offering ceremony commemorating 504 victims of the Son My bloody massacre by US troops over 50 years ago.

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US veteran sends roses to commemorate victims of Son My massacre
At the Son My relic site, participants, including alive victims and local residents, mourned for the deceased and prayed for a peaceful world – a basis for a sustainable future. Photo: sggp.org.vn

On March 16, 1968, US troops marched to My Lai hamlet (now Son My village, Tinh Khe commune) and massacred 504 innocent civilians. Among whom were 182 women (17 pregnant), 173 children, 60 elderly and 89 middle-aged people; 247 houses were destroyed, thousands of cattle and poultry were killed, and food crops were completely destroyed.

The incident went down in history as a pain of Son My residents, as well as the Vietnamese people.

The massacre is also credited with advancing the end of the American War because it significantly undermined public support in the United States for the war effort.

An incense offering ceremony was held by the Quang Ngai Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism on March 16 to commemorate 504 victims.

US veteran sends roses to commemorate victims of Son My massacre
People visit the Son My relic site. Photo: sggp.org.vn

At the Son My relic site, participants, including alive victims and local residents, mourned for the deceased and prayed for a peaceful world – the foundation for a sustainable future.

After more than half a century, many American veterans have returned to this place in regret of facing the truth and themselves. The people of Son My have overcome great pain and loss to open their arms for forgiveing and sincere welcome.

Billy Kelly, a US war veteran who used to fight in Vietnam, sent 504 roses to the ceremony as offerings to the 504 civilians killed in the massacre.

In the years of 1968-1969 this American veteran fought in Duc Pho (Quang Ngai), more than 80 km from Son My. After the massacre happened, he was shocked and obsessed throughout life. During the following years, Billy Kelly continued visiting Son My, working to help the local people heal the pain. He also expressed his desire that his ashes would be scattered around the ruins after he died.

US veteran sends roses to commemorate victims of Son My massacre
Billy Kelly, a US war veteran, sent 504 roses to the monument to commemorate the victims. Photo: sggp.org.vn

This year, because of health reasons and the COVID-19 pandemic, Billy Kelly sent 504 roses to 504 Son My victims, along with the message on a postcard: “I am sorry I am not able to be with you in Son My again, but I always pray for you"./.

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