Vietnam Time

5/28/2018 3:39:14 PM

Peace trees on the war-torn land of Quang Tri

(VNF) - Fifty years after the war,  Khe Sanh, Huong Hoa, Quang Tri - three destinations were mentioned not only in fights and victories against the Americans, but also because of the rapid and steady revival in socio-economic development in the “doi moi” period. As a result, we cannot fail to mention the support of many organisations inside and outside the country, including PeaceTrees Vietnam (PTVN).

Originating from the idea of ​​an American mother whose son died in Vietnam's battlefield in 1969, PTVN was established in 1995, with the mission of building friendly relations with the people of Quang Tri for peaceful cooperation and innovation. This is also the first U.S. non-governmental organisation permitted by the Government of Vietnam to work in the field of overcoming the consequences of war in Quang Tri province.

 People plant a tree in Ta Con airfield, third phase, 2018.

Over the past 20 years, PeaceTrees has helped to find and safely dispose of 85,000 explosives, clean up nearly 400 hectares of contaminated land, plant more than 43,000 trees, etc. In many contaminated areas, PeaceTrees has healed the legacy of war by removing dangerous explosives, returning land to safe use, promoting peace and cultivating a brighter future for the children and families of Vietnam in here.

Coming to the land of Khe Sanh, which was undoubtedly one of the fiercest battlefields in history, a land that suffered many losses after the war, PeaceTrees not only supports the return of land safely for people but also many meaningful humanitarian activities.

Classrooms named Peace Trees

As part of efforts to overcome the legacy of the war, PeaceTrees also carried out many humanitarian activities that significantly outweighed the initial purpose such as investing in building build schools and kindergarten in disadvantaged areas of Huong Hoa district to educate future generation

The first classroon was built in 2007 at Amor Kindergarten in A Xing commune, Huong Hoa district. Two years later, also in this difficult area, a classroom at A Cha District were also built. In October 2010, another classroom was opened for children near Vietnam - Laos border at Khe Da school, Lao Bao town. And most recently in the Sunflower School in cluster 6, Khe Sanh town.

All the schools sponsored by PeaceTrees, in addition to the classroom and the equipment, all are also under maintenance and repair if any works needed. Every month, the children are supported with lunch for USD 200/month/class to prevent malnutrition. On occasions such as Tet (traditional New Year), the children are given gifts such as candy, clothes, toys, etc. In addition, PeaceTrees' delegations occasionally visit, join in tree-planting, and repair the toys and outdoor facilities for children.

Classroom at Khe Da Kindergarten, Lao Bao Town, Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province.

Spacious classrooms named Peace Tree are located in the places where life is difficult, especially in the dry and sunny weather. Young children makes joke with smiles on the lips with the "Mister", "Madam" from distant America that once enemy became close and friendly in their eyes, making them believe in a world of peace, without hatred and discrimination.

It can be seen that the people from a far way land yet understand and imbue the traditional doctrine of Vietnamese "For benefits in ten years time, plant trees; For benefits in 100 years, cultivate people." The children - those little trees - have been cherished and nursed. To come and see the children in these classes, we firmly believe that those little trees will grow big and strong, contributing to the peace and development like their classes very-name.

PEACE TREES AT TA CON AIRPORT

Planting peace trees at Airport Historic Site (Khe Sanh Combat Base) was the idea of a medevac helicopter pilot for the U.S. army during the war it the Khe Sanh battlefield - Dave Hansen.

In July 2011, Dave shared the idea of ​​building the Khe Sanh Peace Garden with Jerilyn Brusseau, co-founder of PeaceTrees Vietnam.

While waiting for the project to be implemented, Dave and others in PeaceTrees still planted trees at Ta Con Airport. “The environment in Quang Tri was severely affected by the war. The thing we (PeaceTrees) want to do the most is to plant trees here to contribute to retore and create green spaces in the most affected areas in the war. Ta Con Airport is a great choice.”

Tree planting at Amor Kindergarten, A Xing Commune, Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province.

In March 2012, the first avocado trees were planted at a small corner of Ta Con Airport by a multigenerational group of U.S. veterans and friends together with a representative group of veterans of Vietnam People's Army in Huong Hoa district. People who once fought against each other, together planted trees and cultivated a beautiful garden built on grounds that were once fierce battlefields: Ta Con Airport and the battlefield of Road 9 Khe Sanh area.

So far, after six years, avocado orchards have grown strong in a small corner of the airport, which is a convincing proof of the vitality of the people's aspirations for peace. In March 2014, some people in PeaceTrees and representatives of Huong Hoa district Veterans Association continued organising the second trees planting in Ta Con airport and the third – the most recent in March 2013.

A place where people in both sides of battle, come together in peace, build a hope-filled garden on that very land and continually plant trees of reconciliation.

AND THE RE-GREENING OF KHE SANH

Maybe you will find it hard to believe when we tell you to go to a place like Ta Con Airport to find serenity, but that is absolutely true. Once come to Ta Con airport to see the peacefull picture: People of the two nations once mortal enemies, those who have been victims of the war, seeks respite from conflict. The old battleground now is a meaningful destination for people who have been affected by conflict and now desire integration and restoration.

The war is back to the past, we do not forget, Americans will not forget but remember not to hate but to sympathise and share. And peaceful people can not just be the children who grew up from the classes named Peaceful Tree, but whoever people from the Khe Sanh, Huong Hoa, Quang Tri. They all carries inside a buring desire for peace. Beause, more than anyone else, they understood the high pride of peace. The peace was paid with so much blood and tears, so many lives sacrifice for national independence./.

Translated by Tu Phan  
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