Vietnam Time

6/21/2016 8:19:55 PM

When soldiers are sacrificed in peacetime…

The concern and worries of millions of Vietnamese in recent days was focused on the life of the military pilots after the two consecutive plane crashes.

When major Nguyen Huu Cuong was rescued, the hopes for the safe return of Colonel Tran Quang Khai, the main pilot of Su30-MK2, multiplied.

Unfortunately, that hope evaporated when, on the evening June 17th, fishermen offshore reported finding the body of Colonel Khai wrapped tightly with the parachute. On the dawn of June 18th, Colonel Khai’s body was brought to the motherland.

The modern patrol aircraft CASA-212 of the Coast Guard, when sent urgently to search for the pilots of the Su30-Mk2, also crashed on Bach Long Vy seas around midday of June 16th. Fragments of the fuselage were found.

All efforts are being made to find the 9 officers in the crew, but hopes are gradually thinning.

The loss of the aircraft worth tens of millions of dollars – a huge asset for a still poor country, can’t be compared with the lives of the soldiers on that plane!

Therefore, the sacrifice of the pilots in the past days will be not only a constant pain to the family of each person, but also a huge loss for the country. Especially at this time, how much the country is needing such elite and courageous soldiers like them!

I am reminded of all the soldiers who died in peacetime that I’ve ever met. In August 2007, when reporting news of floods in Quang Binh, I witnessed the sacrifice of military medical lieutenant Pham Huu Huyen. Six months later, martyr Huyen was posthumously conferred the title Hero of the People’s Armed Forces.

In September 2009, reporting news of floods in Quang Tri, I once again witnessed the sacrifice of a soldier, Lieutenant Colonel Le Van Phuong, from Quang Tri provincial team.

In the darkness, the boat of Military Command attempted to rescue residents living along Thach Han River capsized and Phuong succombed to the elements.

That day, when teammates reviewed the personal belongings of Colonel Phuong, his fortune turned up nothing but an old mobile phone, two sets of clothes, some family photos and a bar of dry food. In 2012, Lieutenant Colonel Phuong was posthumously conferred the title Hero of People’s Armed Forces.

Just two years ago, in July 2014, an Mi-171 helicopter crashed in Hoa Lac, killing 18 soldiers. Among the soldiers who were killed, there emerged a story from the wife of Lieutenant Do Van Nam. When washing her husband’s uniform, she found the money paper of denominations of VND 200,000 which her husband had asked to “borrow” to spend a few days after he had drawn his salary and given to her.

It turned out, although asking to “borrow”, he did not dare to spend that such little money for only a cup of coffee or a bowl of noodles during training days!

Vietnam’s history is written in the blood of millions of fallen soldiers. Their sacrifice is for only one single purpose, that is the safety of people and the survival of the country.No soldier would presume that his sacrifice be honoured on stone monuments. But it’s certain that everyone desired his death be in return for the peace of the country and the happiness of the people.

The death of soldiers today again reminds us to live for their sincere aspiration rather than just for our own./.  
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