Once we were soldiers

Once we were soldiers

(Vietnam, 2015). Fifty years ago it began the war against USA. Forty years ago, with the conquest of Saigon the North, Vietnamese Army won the war and thousands of veterans came back to their villages trying to start a new life. Today, just in Huè (Central Vietnam) which was one of the more hit part of the country by the fighting, close to the DMZ zone, there were settled 25.000 veterans, 4.000 of them are invalid and 2.000 victims of the Agent Orange. They have a lot of problems to solve, as how to build a new life with their families. In fact, many Veterans didn’t get married at that time. But the entire community welcomed them as heroes, in particular North Vietnamese, while in the south the situation was different because of the long presence of the American Army there. South Veteran’s Families were scared of the revenges but after some years the situation was changed and the harmony was established again. Today, after 40 years, there are no longer distances and they live all together. Another issue was how to solve the social consequences of the war (destruction of the territory, villages, structures), both mental and economic because after the war, the government stopped to help them so, they’ll start to gain money by themselves. They are grouped in Vietnam Veterans Associations (VVA) divided in many levels of importance: Provincial level, City/district level, Ward/commune level that includes Veterans of the French war, the oldest who are more than 80 years old which fought in both the wars and lived the aftermath and the rebuilt period, veterans of the American War (a larger group) and those who served after the reunification of 1975.
During their service, the veterans had a code of life: “FIGHT FOR PEOPLE, DIE FOR PEOPLE”.

by Karl Mancini

(Vietnam, 2015). Fifty years ago it began the war against USA. Forty years ago, with the conquest of Saigon the North, Vietnamese Army won the war and thousands of veterans came back to their villages trying to start a new life. Today, just in Huè (Central Vietnam) which was one of the more hit part of the country by the fighting, close to the DMZ zone, there were settled 25.000 veterans, 4.000 of them are invalid and 2.000 victims of the Agent Orange. They have a lot of problems to solve, as how to build a new life with their families. In fact, many Veterans didn’t get married at that time. But the entire community welcomed them as heroes, in particular North Vietnamese, while in the south the situation was different because of the long presence of the American Army there. South Veteran’s Families were scared of the revenges but after some years the situation was changed and the harmony was established again. Today, after 40 years, there are no longer distances and they live all together. Another issue was how to solve the social consequences of the war (destruction of the territory, villages, structures), both mental and economic because after the war, the government stopped to help them so, they’ll start to gain money by themselves. They are grouped in Vietnam Veterans Associations (VVA) divided in many levels of importance: Provincial level, City/district level, Ward/commune level that includes Veterans of the French war, the oldest who are more than 80 years old which fought in both the wars and lived the aftermath and the rebuilt period, veterans of the American War (a larger group) and those who served after the reunification of 1975.
During their service, the veterans had a code of life: “FIGHT FOR PEOPLE, DIE FOR PEOPLE”.

Le Van Quang, during the American war, he was a young soldier who fought in the villages, door to door against the US Soldiers. Now for his activity he often meet American former veterans who came back after years to visit the country
A tent inside the bedroom of a Veteran Pham Duong joined for the first time in his life the war as a veteran in 1950. He was veteran both in the French war as in the American war. In 1955 the North Vietnamese relocated some special forces in the Huè department. These soldiers were settled in their native villages as secret agents for the elections. He was the chief of the village but all his activities for the government were secret. Someone from the south Vietnamese discovered his activity and betrayed him, he was arrested and imprisoned
The Book of Ho Chi Minh. Every Viet soldier during the war had is personal book of Ho chi Minh, this is a particular one cause it’s a gift made on the day of the liberation of Vietnam in 1975 to a veteran from one of his mates
Sang, 87 years in his house.He joined the army in 1949 at 19 years leaving his studies when the frech invaded Vietnam. He is the former Chairman of VV.AA. During the French war (1949-1954) he fighted in three different provinces. During the American war he joined the army on the first day of struggles in the High Central Vietnam till the end of the war. He was imprisoned for 3 months during the French war, but he escaped from prison with some mates killing 27 French liberating 52 person including himself. Family pictures of weddings and children with period photo in uniform are often present inside the veteran’s houses Nhi, niece of a veteran in her grandfathers house with his grandmother. During the war husband and wife were separated for years In the hand of a veteran there’s an honour medal assigned by the party for 50 years of service to the country Tran Thien Chanh in his house with his wife and his forth nephew. He fighted in Central Vietnam during all the American War. Now he’s helping his daughter to build and open an italian restaurant in Huè
Nghia Trang Trung Son, monumental cemetery in the DMZ zone in which there are buried 20000 North Vietnamese soldiers. The bodies were taken after the war from all the surroundings part of the Huè province and DMZ zone and brought here. There a no South Vietnamese soldiers in this cemetery, they were all sent to their home villages and the government didn’t want to bury together soldiers who are considered heroes died for the unification of the country with those, also Vietnamese, but fought against
Phan Dinh Tin was born in 1936, she joined army in 1948 as a carrier of information. The reason was because the frech used to cut heads and arms of the local people in public processes to give demonstration of power. All this brutality grew up a patriotic sense of revenge in her. sHe was a teenager when together with her village she threw away the French from her village Truong Thi Dieng.
She had one son and one daughter before the war and during she moves to the center Vietnam leaving the children at home. Inside the bedroom of a veteran in Central Vietnam. This house was almost totally destroyed like all the villages in the neighborhood during the war Inside the grand building of the central post of Saigon in French Style. It is the largest in the country. On the top stands the portrait of Ho Chi Minh Thien was settled in Laos for 3 years to cooperate to the Laotian government to demine the fields close to the Ho Chi Minh Trail that were massively bombs by americans. Here he stands in front of his house in which it is written “long live the socialist republic of Vietnam”
The border area between Laos and Vietnam is still littered with landmines and UXO bombs because of the massive American bombing on the Ho Chi Minh trail. in these areas, entire villages were destroyed with napalm and chemical weapons such as Agent Orange. Those who survived became refugees and still continue to move periodi- cally in mined areas in which they put daily in risk their life
The border area between Laos and Vietnam is still littered with landmines and UXO bombs because of the massive American bombing on the Ho Chi Minh trail. in these areas, entire villages were destroyed with napalm and chemical weapons such as Agent Orange. Those who survived became refugees and still continue to move periodically in mined areas in which they put daily in risk their life
The famous Plain of the jaar, located in Laos close to the border with Vietnam. In the neighborhood pass an important part of the Ho chi Minh Trail. All this area is still full of landmine and UXO bombs. The same archeological site is mined for the 60%. Americans never were able to destroy the trail that become the reason of the
Vietnamese win because it permitted the supplies to the soldiers in the south and incursions in enemy territory
Ben Hai Ri Verc, the old border that divided South from North Vietnam. Now it's going to build a modern bridge across the river. Beside this place there's a signboard in which is remarked the importance of the Ho Chi Minh Trail in order to win the war
Portrait of the Chief of AA.VV of Huè in central Vietnam: “Vietnamese people have an incredible vital force. One of the reason why we won the war was our optimism. Several times after the massive bombings by B52, soldiers who survived, came out from their refuges to smile and laugh. Ho chi Minh described the optimism inside his poems when he was imprisoned and after one of the worst defeat he said: We’ll win the American war. When he died in 1969 the a during the warmericans believed to win but it was in Pham Ngoc Nhu, he join the army in 1954 (during the French war) and in a second time was relocated in the North Army till 1961. During the American War he serviced the country in Central Vietnam till the liberation day. He was soldier for 24 years. In particular he was assigned to teach the new recruits.
“Many young people nowadays are not interested in the war history because they were borned after the end. There a great difference between the old and the new generations of the country”.
For all his life Chith swings on an hammock inside the house in which he lives with his family. His grandparents are both veterans Portrait of the Chief of AA.VV of Huè in central Vietnam: “Vietnamese people have an incredible vital force. One of the reason why we won the war was our optimism. Several times after the massive bombings by B52, soldiers who survived, came out from their refuges to smile and laugh. Ho chi Minh described the optimism inside his poems when he was imprisoned and after one of the worst defeat he said: We’ll win the American war. When he died in 1969 the a during the warmericans believed to win but it was in Period Photos for the Military ID of a Veterans of the time of the war Nguyen Quang Hop, was the chief doctor of the central Vietnam group. Now is the owner of an hospital built in front of an old landing field of the city airport of Huè in which were fighted terrible battles. In his hospital poor people is assisted for free and all the veterans have a 90% discount. Inside is it used tradicional medicin and modern
An old veteran is waiting to be visited in the Nguyen Quang Hop hospital of Huè. In vietnam it is used both modern as traditional medicine for the treatment of diseases. Inside this hospital the poor people are treated free while veterans have a discount of 90%
Sack fought the war against the Americans losing almost entirely his platoon and many friends. He is now an important member of the association of war veterans in of Huè in central Vietnam