Devastating effects of the Christmas Bombings

SR 2031
Beep tone
Roll 31 of Vietnam Project 7860
Interview with Phung Thi Tiem 60, factory worker, Christmas bombing.
278 Take 1
What happened to you that night?
Phung Thi Tiem:
It was around 10 p.m. The alert siren sounded. I rushed my thirteen-year-old son and my husband to the shelter. As we were nearing the shelter, I heard some rumbling noise above me. Then bombs fell down from the sky and we were knocked into the shelter.
279 Take 1
Phung Thi Tiem:
It was around 10 pm. I was supposed to evacuate from the city, but I decided not to. My husband and I and our thirteen years old son were at home. My son had come home to pick up some rice. As soon as we heard the alert siren, we also heard a rumbling noise above us. We rushed to the bomb shelter, but the bombs fell down as we were on our way. We got thrown into the bomb shelter. I lost consciousness. When I regained my senses and climbed out of the bomb shelter, the entire area was smoke filled. I then took my husband and my son out of the bombed out area.
As soon as this was done, I returned to area again with a whistle, a flashlight and a red band in my hands. From under the rubble and from inside the shelters I heard people screaming for help. Heaps of bricks and concrete were now covering the tops of the shelters. I called on other people to help me pull the victims out of the shelters. Some people recovered right away, but others were slow to regain their consciousness and still others were wounded. We stopped the passing cars and threw these wounded people into these cars to take them to the hospitals for emergency treatment.
The next day, the day after that and five or six days thereafter, we still that to work continually to get to the people inside the bomb shelters. During the first night, we had to use pickforks, shovels, hoes, and crowbars to pry loose the brick walls and the concrete slabs that had fallen down on top of the shelters. But we could not get down too far working with our hands like that. The next day the government sent over cranes to lift the large beams so that the bodies underneath could be pulled out. Coffins were then brought to the scene to put the bodies into. For days after that we still had to dig into the rubble to pull out the corpses.
280, Take 1
Could you describe to us the most moving scene for you that night?
Phung Thi Tiem:
The most heart rending sight was the scene at the Son Quan alleyway. A whole family of seven, husband and wife and five children were killed. The oldest child was twenty and the youngest two years of age. The whole family was wiped out. It was an extremely painful thing to see. The ground on which their house was located is still an empty lot of land now. It was extremely painful. What an outrage! A family of seven completely wiped out. Their house was completely razed. Not a single item was left intact. The whole thing was flattened to the ground. It was a most painful sight.