Vietnam marks 50th anniversary of Tet Offensive 越南紀念「新春攻勢」突襲行動五十週年

Sat, Feb 03, 2018 - Page 14

Vietnam marked 50 years since the audacious Tet Offensive on Wednesday, in a bittersweet ceremony featuring patriotic dance performances recalling the attacks that changed the course of the Vietnam War.

The surprise military offensive in 1968 — launched by the communist north on the eve of the Tet lunar new year — targeted more than 100 cities and outposts in southern Vietnam, including in major cities Hue and Ho Chi Minh City, formerly the southern capital of Saigon.

On Wednesday entertainers dressed as soldiers and peasants took the stage at an official ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City, followed by a string of performances from flag-bearing dancers and martial arts performers in red and gold.

Some war veterans attending the event recalled the thrill of hard-fought battle, followed by the heartache of losing fellow fighters.

The Tet Offensive is remembered with mixed emotions in Vietnam — especially among former southern soldiers who don’t agree with Hanoi’s narrative of events.

Nevertheless, officials glossed over the darker aspects of the war at Wednesday’s ceremony, remembering the campaign as a heroic sacrifice.

Although the US and their South Vietnam allies eventually beat back their communist enemies, the offensive electrified the anti-war movement in the US and persuaded politicians to pull out years later. (AFP)