Victims of Son My Massacre remembered
(VNF) - As many as 504 victims of a bloody massacre by U.S. troops 50 years ago were commemorated at a ceremony held at the Son My relic site in Tinh Khe commune, Quang Ngai city, the central province of Quang Ngai, on March 16th.
At the ceremony. (Photo: VOV)
The event was attended by former President Truong Tan Sang, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh, Chief Judge of the Supreme People’s Court Nguyen Hoa Binh, foreign visitors, U.S. veterans, local people and domestic and international reporters.
Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Dang Ngoc Dung said that the killings that occurred on March 16th, 1968 prompted widespread outrage around the world.
“After peace was restored in the country, the people of Son My overcame pain with forgiveness and opened their arms to sincerely welcome U.S. veterans here as a place of pilgrimage, a place to face the truth, face themselves and find peace of mind in a receiving land,” said Dung.
Son My residents are now joining hands to build their hometown and develop the locality’s development in the economy, culture and society, he added.
On the occasion, the organising board handed over a decision to set up My Lai peace fund and announced a 41 hectare My Lai Peace Commemorative Park project which is invested at VND 348 billion (USD 15.3 million).
The park is also a tourism attraction, making contributions to developing tourism in Quang Ngai province.
Two U.S. veterans offer incense to commemorate the victims. (Photo: VOV)
Earlier, on March 15th, a house of worship dedicated to 504 civilians killed in the massacre was inaugurated in the central province of Quang Ngai. Covering an area of 200 sq.m in Son My relic site in Tinh Khe commune, the house was built at a cost of VND 5.5 billion (USD 241,500).
The killings that occurred on March 16th, 1968 in My Lai hamlet (now Son My village, Tinh Khe commune) prompted widespread outrage around the world. The massacre was also credited with advancing the end of the American War because it significantly undermined public support in the US for the war.
Some 504 unarmed civilians in Tinh Khe commune were killed, mostly elderly villagers, women and children. Hundreds of houses, along with thousands of heads of cattle and poultry, and all food, were burned and destroyed.
The Son My relic site welcomes more than 200,000 visitors per year, being the most-visited historical destination in the province.
On this occasion, Madison Quarkers Inc. presented 600 scholarships to students in Tinh Khe and neighbouring communes. The charitable organisation was founded by Mike Boehm, an American veteran in the Vietnam war, who has worked to raise funds for poor women and children in Quang Ngai province and Son My in particular./.