Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge

War veterans from Vietnam and the US get together on Ham Rong Bridge, Thanh Hoa province in celebration of the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations normalisation.
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 1US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink, together with Vietnamese and American war veterans visit the Ham Rong Bridge, Thanh Hoa province. On June 29, 2020 in the central province of Thanh Hoa, American and Vietnamese Veterans participated in several meaningful events commemorating the reformation and reconciliation efforts to heal the wounds of war. The day began with a cordial meeting with a group of about 12 Vietnamese veterans and 4 US veterans, namely Matthew Keenan, David Clark with wife Ushi, Richard Brown with wife Tuan and Darrell Handbury. Also present were representatives from the US Embassy, Colonel Thomas Sweeney and Major Charles S. Casey. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 2The visit marks the 25th anniversary of the normalisation of relations between the US and Vietnam. The bilateral exchange while being serious in nature was cordially pleasant and concentrated on past successes of the mine action initiative Project RENEW, decontamination of Agent Orange sites, assistance to Agent Orange victims along with the continued efforts to work together as partners to make life better for the Vietnamese people. It is important to note, that the meeting was respectful and dignified with an appreciation for those who endured sacrifice. In fact, it felt more unilateral than bilateral especially with the mutual exchange of experiences and gifts of appreciation. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 3Upon arrival at the bridge, US Ambassador Daniel J. Kritenbrink gave a short speech. Coincidently, as if applauding the 25th Anniversary celebration of partnership, a train robustly came rumbling across the bridge as Ambassador Kritenbrink was speaking. Everyone seemed to feel a sense poignant significance with the train’s appearance coinciding with the partnership activities. Then, hand in hand, arm in arm, Ambassador Kritenbrink, local leaders, Embassy staff, Veterans For Peace members along with Vietnamese Veterans slowly walked across the once heavily bombed but restored Ham Rong Bridge. In the intense heat everyone paused at the middle of the bridge where there was polite conversation, reflection and an exchange of gifts. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 4War veteran Matt Keenan, who fought in Vietnam, meets Nguyen Van Ton, one of those who participated in the battle to protect Ham Rong Bridge from the fierce destruction of US air troops more than 55 years ago. Thanh Hoa, located south of Hanoi and north of the DMZ was a particularly interesting location for the 25th anniversary celebration because it is the site of the Ham Rong Bridge which was a major supply route transporting supplies from the north to the south. As such, this small 500-foot bridge was the target of heavy US bombing, but despite being damaged several times, it was always restored. Ham Rong Bridge has become a national symbol of resilience and tenacity. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 5The highlight of the busy day was the gathering at the Ham Rong Bridge. As noted above, this bridge was part of a key supply route and the target of many bombing missions. Surprisingly, the VFP Chapter 160 group was travelling along with the Ambassador’s lead vehicle while being escorted by local police vehicles with sirens and lights glaring. VFP member, David Clark, in jest commented that it was the first time he experienced police cars ahead of him and not chasing him. The total day from beginning to end demonstrated how two warring nations could overcome prior conflict with a genuine friendly spirit of partnership by talking, listening and trusting while using their brains instead of bombs. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 6War veteran Le Xuan Giang, who fought in the C4 hill to protect the Ham Rong Bridge meets with US Ambassador Daniel J. Kritenbrink at the event. US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink, together with Vietnamese and American war veterans visit the Ham Rong Bridge, Thanh Hoa province. On June 29, 2020 in the central province of Thanh Hoa, American and Vietnamese Veterans participated in several meaningful events commemorating the reformation and reconciliation efforts to heal the wounds of war. The visit marks the 25th anniversary of the normalisation of relations between the U.S. and Vietnam. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 7After over 55 years, the war veterans meet to close a chapter of the history and look forwards to a better future. On July 11, 1995, former US President Bill Clinton announced the normalisation of relations between the United States and Vietnam, following the US resistance war in Vietnam that ended in 1975. Vietnam and the United States are now comprehensive partners, with bilateral trade increasing from 450 million USD in 1994 to 77 billion USD in 2019. For several years, the United States has been Vietnam’s biggest export market, while Vietnam has been one of the United States’ quickest growing export markets. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 8Known as one of the hottest spots in the aerial combat of the Second Indochina War, Ham Rong Bridge is the witness of the heroic history of the country located in Thanh Hoa. It is one of the famous bridges in Vietnam and the most well – known bridge in Thanh Hoa. The bridge was built in 1956 and it took 8 years to complete. It is the only bridge across the Ma River ensuring the flow of men – force and war materials by road from North into South Vietnam. The nearly 200-meter long and 20-meter wide bridge was opened in person by President Ho Chi Minh in 1964. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 9In the resistance war against the US, the Ham Rong Bridge was a strategic military hotspot. From 1965 to 1968, almost seven hundred aircraft attacked the bridge, hitting it with more than 10,000 tons of high explosives. So, the bridge was strongly destroyed. After the war time, Ham Rong Bridge has been repaired and renovated as we can see now. It is always the symbol of heroic history of Vietnam and which makes people commemorate the violent war period of the country. For that reason, the bridge has become a witness of history, a famous tourism destination in Thanh Hoa city. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 10On June 29, 2020 in the central province of Thanh Hoa, American and Vietnamese Veterans participated in several meaningful events commemorating the reformation and reconciliation efforts to heal the wounds of war. This bridge was part of a key supply route and the target of many bombing missions. Surprisingly, the Veterans For Peace Chapter 160 group was travelling along with the Ambassador’s lead vehicle while being escorted by local police vehicles with sirens and lights glaring. Veterans For Peace member, David Clark, in jest commented that it was the first time he experienced police cars ahead of him and not chasing him. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 11War veterans from Vietnam and the US get together on Ham Rong Bridge, Thanh Hoa province in celebration of the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations normalisation. The visit marks 25th anniversary of the normalisation of relations between the US and Vietnam. The bilateral exchange while being serious in nature was cordially pleasant and concentrated on past successes of the mine action initiative Project RENEW, decontamination of Agent Orange sites, assistance to Agent Orange victims along with the continued efforts to work together as partners to make life better for the Vietnamese people. It is important to note, that the meeting was respectful and dignified with an appreciation for those who endured sacrifice. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 12The US Ambassador is impressed with the meeting between war veterans of the two countries. The day began with a cordial meeting with a group of about 12 Vietnamese Veterans, 4 U.S. veterans, namely Matthew Keenan, David Clark with wife Ushi, Richard Brown with wife Tuan and Darrell Handbury. Also present were representatives from the U.S. Embassy, Colonel Thomas Sweeney and Major Charles S. Casey. The visit marks 25th anniversary of the normalisation of relations between the US and Vietnam. On July 11, 1995, former US President Bill Clinton announced the normalisation of relations between the United States and Vietnam, following the US resistance war in Vietnam that ended in 1975. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 13The bridge has become a witness of history, a famous tourism destination in Thanh Hoa city. On June 29, 2020, war veterans from Vietnam and the US get together on Ham Rong Bridge, Thanh Hoa province, the witness of the heroic history of the country, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations normalisation.American and Vietnamese veterans participated in several meaningful events commemorating the reformation and reconciliation efforts to heal the wounds of war. The highlight of the busy day was the gathering at the Ham Rong Bridge. The day began with a cordial meeting with a group of about 12 Vietnamese Veterans, 4 US veterans. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 14In the resistance war against the US, the Ham Rong Bridge was a strategic military hotspot. As noted above, this bridge was part of a key supply route and the target of many bombing missions. From 1965 to 1968, almost seven hundred aircraft attacked the bridge, hitting it with more than 10,000 tons of high explosives. So, the bridge was strongly destroyed. After the war time, Ham Rong Bridge has been repaired and renovated as we can see now. It is always the symbol of heroic history of Vietnam and which makes people commemorate the violent war period of the country. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 15US Ambassador also attends a ceremony to inaugurate the Cong Nam (South Gate) preservation project in Ho Citadel relic site, which was funded by the Ambassador Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP). The unveiling ceremony is part of the US Mission in Vietnam’s activities to celebrate the 25th anniversary of US-Vietnam diplomatic relations. The AFCP approved a 92,500 USD grant to conserve the South Gate, the most important remaining structure of the citadel which had been seriously damaged over time. The South Gate’s western (left) vault was in danger of collapsing because the keystone had cracked and become loose, threatening the safety of tourists and the overall structure of the gate. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 16AFCP provides 92,500 USD to preserve the Cong Nam, the only existing important construction of the Ho Citadel relic site. Built in 1397 by the Ho dynasty as the capital of Dai Ngu (a former name of Vietnam), Ho Citadel is unique for its outstanding construction technique, which used large blocks of stone, weighing from 10 to 26 tons each, carefully shaped, interlocked and elevated to about 10 meters high. The citadel served as a military stronghold to protect the country from invasion, thus becoming a symbol of patriotism, and a witness of Vietnamese history during the late 14th and early 15th century. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 17The project, which returned the keystone back to its original position, started in December 2018 with the supervision and participation of Mr. Vu Nam Son, Vietnamese Swiss expert on heritage preservation, and the Conservation Center of the Ho Citadel. Since the start of the Ambassador Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) in 2001, the US Mission has funded 14 projects throughout Vietnam, totaling over 1 million USD, and helping to preserve different aspects of Vietnam’s rich heritage. The unveiling ceremony is part of the US Mission in Vietnam’s activities to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the US-Vietnam diplomatic relations normalisation (July 11). (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 18Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Ambassador Kritenbrink said: ‘The Citadel – its construction, layout, placement in the landscape, and the organization needed to build it – tells us so much about the people that built it and the society around them. It really is a part of the heritage of all of humanity.’ ‘Cultural heritage preservation is only one of many fields of cooperation between our two countries. In areas as diverse as trade, development, education, health care, energy, and security, the United States and a strong and independent Vietnam are working together with a shared commitment to peace and prosperity,’ said Ambassador Kritenbrink. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 19As part of his visit to Thanh Hoa and Ninh Binh provinces, the US Ambassador also visited Quang Trung Kindergarten built with Department of Defense Humanitarian Assistance funds in 2012, toured Ham Rong Bridge with Vietnamese and American veterans, including those who fought to defend the bridge during the war, paid a courtesy call to Thanh Hoa Province Party Secretary and People’s Committee Chairman, delivered remarks at the Opening Ceremony of an English Access Micro-Scholarship Program at Thanh Hoa Ethnic Minority Boarding High School, talked with teachers and students of Lam Son Gifted High School, met alumni of US Government exchanges, and visited Phat Diem Church. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 20The kindergarten was built in 2012 within funding from the Defence Ministry. The ambassador visits the Quang Trung kindergarten in Quang Xuong district. After having a delightful lunch with Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink, Embassy staff, local officials and the Veterans For Peace Chapter 160 group there was a tour of the Quang Trung kindergarten which was financed and built with the US Department of Defense Humanitarian Assistance Funds. The group visited each classroom of the school’s 300 students and was entertained by the kindergartners with a cheerful performance of song and dance. The visit is part of his tour to Thanh Hoa and Ninh Binh provinces. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 21The ambassador meets with the children at the kindergarten. The kindergarten was built in 2012 within funding from the Defence Ministry. After having a delightful lunch with Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink, Embassy staff, local officials and the Veterans For Peace Chapter 160 group there was a tour of the Quang Trung kindergarten which was financed and built with the US Department of Defense Humanitarian Assistance Funds. The group visited each classroom of the school’s 300 students and was entertained by the kindergartners with a cheerful performance of song and dance. The visit of Ambassador Kritenbrink to Thanh Hoa reaffirms the US commitment to partnership with Vietnam. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 22The ambassador joins the children of the kindergarten in an art performance. The kindergarten was built in 2012 within funding from the Defence Ministry. After having a delightful lunch with Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink, Embassy staff, local officials and the Veterans For Peace Chapter 160 group there was a tour of the Quang Trung kindergarten which was financed and built with the US Department of Defense Humanitarian Assistance Funds. The group visited each classroom of the school’s 300 students and was entertained by the kindergartners with a cheerful performance of song and dance. The activity is part of US Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink visit to Thanh Hoa province. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 23The ambassador meets with the children at the kindergarten. The activity is part of US Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink visit to Thanh Hoa province to mark the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations normalization between Vietnam and the United States. On July 11, 1995, former US President Bill Clinton announced the normalisation of relations between the United States and Vietnam. Vietnam and the United States are now comprehensive partners, with bilateral trade increasing from 450 million USD in 1994 to 77 billion USD in 2019. For several years, the United States has been Vietnam’s biggest export market, while Vietnam has been one of the United States’ quickest growing export markets. (Photo: Vietnam+)
Vietnam, US war veterans meet on Ham Rong Bridge hinh anh 24The visit of Ambassador Kritenbrink to Thanh Hoa reaffirms the US commitment to partnership with Vietnam. On July 11, 1995, former US President Bill Clinton announced the normalisation of relations between the United States and Vietnam. In the past 25 years, two-way trade surged from 450 million USD in 1994 to more than 60 billion USD in 2018. The US had been Vietnam’s largest export market for several consecutive years. Investment from the US had greatly contributed to Việt Nam’s development. The activities of GE, Microsoft, IBM, Nike and ExxonMobil, along with other US corporations, had helped Việt Nam earn and sustain a foothold in the global value chain. (Photo: Vietnam+)
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