At the ceremony (Source: VNA)

Quang Tri (VNA) - A requiem ceremony was held in the central province of Quang Tri on July 21 to commemorate soldiers who died during an 81-day battle here in the summer of 1972 to safeguard the country.

Jointly held by the Quang Tri Ancient Citadel Soldier Association and the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS), the ceremony was among activities to mark the 71st anniversary of the Vietnam Invalids and Martyrs Day (July 27, 1947-2018).

It was attended by representatives from ministries, departments and sectors, armed forces, local officials and heroic Vietnamese mothers, and over 3,000 dignitaries, monks, nuns, and Buddhist followers nationwide.

Fierce fighting for control of the citadel, the central province’s symbol of power, started from June 28 and ended on September 26, resulting in heavy casualties on both sides.

The fight contributed to Vietnam’s triumph at the Paris Conference and was a prerequisite for the General Offensive and Uprising in the spring of 1975, which completely liberated the south and reunified the country.

The old citadel, just under 3,000sq.m, and a small area around it was bombarded by the combined fire power of American B52 strategic bombers, the 7th Fleet and thousands of artillery pieces.

An estimated 328,000 tonnes of bombs were dropped on the old citadel and a small town of some 10,000 houses around it. By the time the fighting ended, the town was almost leveled. No houses remained intact.

In recent time, a series of activities have been organised by local authorities, organisations and those in and ouside the province to support families of wounded soldiers and martyrs.  Hundreds of houses were presented to people who contributed to the revolution.

On the occasion, the Sai Gon - Hanoi Bank presented 20 houses worth 50 million VND (2,184 USD) each to members of the Quang Tri Ancient Citadel Soldier Association’s chapters nationwide. The Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam’s branches in Quang Tri and Ho Chi Minh City also gave 12 houses totaling 600 million VND (26,210 USD) to the families of invalids and martyrs in the locality.-VNA