The Central Military Commission’s Standing Board and the Ministry of National Defence presented the title “Hero of the People’s Armed Forces” to Kostas Sarantidis (also known as Nguyen Van Lap), a Greek citizen, in Hanoi on August 30.

Born in 1927, Sarantidis was among the troops that were sent to Vietnam by French colonialist in 1946. After landing in the country, he saw with his own eyes the colonialists’ brutal acts against innocent Vietnamese people.

Realising the true nature of the crusade, as well as the just resistance war of Vietnamese people, he followed the Viet Minh Front of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

From 1946-1965, he served in the Vietnam People’s Army and other fields in order to boost the friendship between Vietnam and Greece.

Returning to Greece in late 1965, Sarantidis organised many practical activities to support Vietnam, which he considers his second homeland. He joined the Communist Party of Greece, acting as a bridge linking the two Parties and Governments and tightening the friendly relations between the two countries.

Sarantidis has been awarded many precious titles by the Vietnamese Party and State, including the Friendship Order in 2011, the Victory Medal-level third and the Resistance War Medal-second class. He was also given Vietnamese citizenship and a passport named Nguyen Van Lap in 2010.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Senior Lieutenant General Ngo Xuan Lich, Head of the General Department of Politics under the Vietnam People’s Army, acknowledged Sarantidis’ contributions to Vietnam’s past struggle for national independence.

He expressed his hope that Sarantidis will continue to make more contributions to the Vietnam-Greece friendship.

For his part, Sarantidis said he is honoured to receive the title, adding that he will try his utmost to help strengthen the relations between the two countries.-VNA