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”.

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