Thousands of local people and foreigners on March 16 burned incense at the Son My relic site in the central province of Quang Ngai to pray for victims of a bloody massacre conducted by US soldiers 46 years ago.

On March 16, 1968, the American troops killed 504 unarmed citizens in Tinh Khe commune, Son Tinh district, mostly elderly villagers, women and children.

Hundreds of houses, along with thousands of heads of cattle and poultry, and all food were burned and destroyed that day.

Addressing the event, Deputy Director of the Quang Ngai provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Cao Van Chu recalled the horror.

Son My people have overcome the utmost pain to stand up and contribute to the country’s socio-economic development, as well as national defence and construction, he said.

At the ceremony, US war veteran Mike Boehn, who is also Managing Director of the Madison Quakers charitable organisation, played a piece of music named “The sound of the violin in My Lai ” in memory of the victims.

Billy Kelly, another US veteran, also sent 504 roses to the monument to commemorate the victims.

Following the ceremony, representatives of the Madison Quakers presented 36 scholarships, each worth 1 million VND (47 USD), to poor students in Tinh Khe elementary school.-VNA