Slate One. Marker.
Mrs. Nguyen Cong Minh:
On the eve of the Lunar New
Year, on the night of the 30th of Tet, it was quite different from other New Year eves in that
firecrackers went on longer and more profusely. There were more
firecrackers, much more firecrackers, than every other New Year. Uh, the
sound of the firecrackers and the sound of gunfire interspersed and so,
ah nobody realized that it was the gunfire of Communists who were
overrunning the city of Hue
And so, ah, everyone was still enjoying themselves,
ah, performing religious rites. Then at about 2:00 in the morning, on
the eve of Tet, the Viet Cong sneaked into my house
and, asked for our identity cards, knocked on the door.
At that time my father and I looked out and saw the,
Communist soldiers carrying AK's and wearing pith helmets came knocking
at our door. My father told my brother and my uncle to escape through
the back door. When we looked out of the window and saw the AK's my
father knew that the Communists had already overrun the city. This was
because they knocked on the door and identified themselves as National Liberation Forces who
had come to the South, uh, to liberate the people.
Since my father was old, he told my brother and my
uncle to go, uh, to escape by the back door. Then when we opened the
front door they asked my father what his occupation was and where he was
staying. My father then told them that he was old and was about to
retire. He, ah, he said that he will retire in a year and that at that
time he was the deputy district chief of Trieu Phong
in Quang Tri province. So they came into the house,
wrote down our names and, ah, then they withdrew and went to other
Now, I have finished with that part, are you going to
give a translation or should I continue speaking?
Then, ah, ah, on the first day of the New Year they
forced my father to present himself in person and to write down his
background. After he finished writing down his background, they allowed
him to go home again. They allowed him to go home and, ah, on the
morning of the second of Tet they
forced him to come to them and write down his background one more time.
Then they sent him home again, ah, they allowed him to go home again.
Then on the morning of the third of Tet they told him to take with him a blanket, a
mosquito net and enough clothes and food for ten days of reeducation.
He, ah, was supposed to go for reeducation for ten days and then to come
back again. So my father went home and, according to their request,
brought enough clothes and food for exactly ten days with him.
Many people converged on that place: the place where
I was living in was called Vy da. Many people converged on the Vy da
grade school. In my estimate, there were about 60 to 70 persons there
After my father had gone away for ten days, there was
no indication that he was coming home. And it was not until not until,
ah, and he disappeared without any trace for exactly a year until 1969 when a Communist rallier in, ah, Xu O went
to Thua Thien provincial
town and, ah, that person disclosed to the, the, the provincial chief of
Thua Thien that all
those people who had been taken away during the Mau-than New Year were
all buried alive.
And he, ah, if the provincial chief wanted to find
the remains of these people he would take him to Xuan O and Xuan Dol to
show him where to dig for the remains. It was then that the provincial
chief of Thua Thien ordered
the Rural Development cadres to accompany this Communist rallier and to
inform the inhabitants of the province that anyone who had loved ones
who had been taken away during the Mau-than New Year should come with
them to find the remains.
First of all, they arrived at Xuan O where they dug
up, ah, that man pointed out, he only knew one tunnel and pointed it out
and when it was dug up, there were the remains of seven persons who were
all tied up, tied up with their hands behind their backs. And when, ah,
when, ah, when they were dug up they were found to have had their skulls
They were having their arms tied behind their backs.
And when they were dug up, the ropes could be seen connected with one
another. And then, ah, then the digging continued. In that whole area,
the soil was all sandy. And so when people went around searching they
saw that erosion, ah, the sand shifted, ah, the sand shifted and so the
bones were exposed.
And so around an area where there was a body buried
underneath, there was grass growing. The grass was quite green. And in
any area where the grass was green, there was a body underneath when you
dig it up.
And so the digging continued for nearly a month. Ah,
for nearly a month, ah, then, uh, then they, ah, uh, could see, ah,
during that month people were able to locate about 200 remains. Two
And those remains that could
be found that their identification cards sealed in plastic with them. Or
they had pictures of their wives and children sealed in plastic with
them. And so, exactly a year later when the remains were dug up these
things had not disintegrated yet and so they could be identified.