A groundbreaking ceremony was held recently for a new memorial area honouring martyr Vo Thi Sau, a national heroine who fought against the French colonialists and was executed by them on an island in the Con Dao archipelago in the southeastern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

The project, which will replace an older one, covers 2ha of land and includes a memorial house and a park. It will be completed in July on the occasion of the Day for War Martyrs and Invalids, which falls on July 27.

"This development is for the well-known heroine Vo Thi Sau, a proud and brave revolutionary symbol of patriotism, even in front of enemy guns," said Le Xa, chairman of the district where the memorial will be built. He said Vo Thi Sau would always remain a bright example for generations of Vietnamese.

Sau was born in 1933 in Ba Ria and began her revolutionary career at the age of 14. Among her activities was a grenade attack on July 14, 1948, which killed a French officer and injured 14 soldiers.

She was arrested in early 1950 when she launched another attack. Sau was then put in jail and given a death sentence in Chi Hoa Prison in the former Sai Gon.

Feared for her strong and courageous revolutionary will, the French colonialists shipped her to Con Dao and shot her on January 23, 1952 when she was 19.

Sau refused to be blindfolded and sang until her final breath.

The memorial project is part of a larger one, the Con Dao – Legend and Future, which promotes cultural, social and economic development.

The district chairman said the project would also have a talent development fund, run a social welfare programme for the elderly and children, and upgrade an existing library.

It will also train Government employees, army members and then students and others to become "tourism ambassadors".

Tourism is a key part of the Con Dao islands' economy, thanks to its revolutionary sites, the beauty of its beaches, scenic bays, coral reefs and the Con Dao National Park.-VNA