Devastation of Vinh Quang

SR 2062
473 Take 1
Interview with Ho Thanh Dam, teacher.
Could you tell us, please, the night of the raid?
Ho Thanh Dam:
Vinh Quang is my native village. Before the bombing, it was a very bustling place. We lived in happiness and in peace under a socialist system. From 1967 on, the American imposed suffering on Vinh Linh and on the entire country.
But on that particular day, there was much destruction and suffering for my native village of Vinh Quang. I had witnessed many days when the Americans committed crimes against my people, but the most unforgettable day and the day which my hatred of the American imperialists was at its peak was July 12, 1967. They just destroyed the whole village.
474 Take 1
Ho Thanh Dam:
That morning, around 8:00 a.m., they shelled us from Ba Doc, Doc Mieu and the Seventh Fleet. Over one thousand shells dropped on the village. You could only hear the sound of explosions and of children crying. The village inhabitants ran away to avoid death.
From 8 a.m. of that day until 8 a.m. of the next day, bombs and shells exploded ceaselessly. My family and I were hiding inside the tunnel. The tunnel collapsed under direct hits. Of the 61 persons who got buried in that tunnel were my family members: My old mother, who was 65 years old, three grandchildren and a sister in law.
The other families suffered even worse. There was one family which had eighteen members buried alive. So I am not stressing my own family situation. That day I myself was also in the tunnel. But when the bombing ended, I rushed out into this village to save other families and the tunnel collapsed behind me.
I was running around, carrying a gun and fighting alongside with other people. They dropped napalm bombs, and I was injured as a result. When I got injured, the napalm bombs had saturated this whole village, engulfing the whole village in a gigantic fire. When I was hit by the napalm, my whole body was on fire. I lost consciousness. But my comrades rushed me to the medical station so that I could get emergency treatment. After that I was sent to the hospital.
After I was hit by the napalm, I became almost crazy. My entire body was hot like a piece of charcoal. I had to remain in the hospital for three and one half months. But it was not until six and a half months later that the wounds on my body began to heal.
It can be stated that the Americans committed many crimes. But the use of this chemical weapon was extremely cruel. Besides me, there were over a dozen children who were also hit by the napalm bombs but who could not survive until today to talk about the crimes committed by the American aggressors.
475 Take 1
Second clapper
475 Take 1
Third Clapper
Ho Thanh Dam:
Before I got wounded and while I was running around fighting, I witnessed many heartrending scenes. Many people died, and some died in the most terrible manner. For example, their bodies had been torn to pieces. Some of the pieces were hanging on the branches of the trees and other pieces were covered with the pulverized ground.
It was a scene of total devastation. There were many who were walking about with me. But some people were so shocked by the terrifying scene that they turned around and went back into the tunnel. But after they got back into the tunnel, it collapsed and they got buried as a result.
476 Take 1
Ho Thanh Dam:
After I left the tunnel in order to engage the enemy, I witnessed many heartrending scenes. Dozens of people were killed, and in the most terrifying manner. Many of the bodies had been pulverized. Only some pieces were left hanging down from the branches of the trees or plastered to the ground here and there.
On that day, a total of 220 persons were killed. Among them, thirty children who were burnt to death by napalm bombs. Because I was a very healthy person, that is why I survive until today. But all of the children who were hit by the napalm bombs were killed.
As far as my village was concerned, as I have told you, it used to be a beautiful and bustling place. It was a place for vacationers and for patients who came to convalesce. But after that day of bombing, this whole area was completely flattened. The former scenery had been wiped out.
My own house and the plot around it were really beautiful and were something to cherish. But after that day of bombing, I could not find the foundation of my house anymore. What you see now has been the result of thirteen years of rebuilding. But after the bombing, there was not one single house left standing in this entire area.
What are your feelings now about those people who created all this destruction? That is to say, what do you think of the American aggressors?
Ho Thanh Dam:
The crimes committed by the United States, as Uncle Ho has expressed it very well, will not be forgotten by the earth and will not be forgiven by heaven. It was imperial America which stamped out our country and our villages. The United States callously poured down untold amounts of bombs and shells on this land.
At present, over a hundred children are either without a mother or a father. And over one thousand persons are still mourning for their loved ones. It can be said that the Vietnamese people as a whole and the inhabitants of Vinh Linh, in particular, will never forget the crimes committed against them by the American aggressors. And if the Americans ever dare to come back here again, we are determined to fight them until the end no matter how resourceful they are.
The American people, in general, are good people. But the American imperialists and the American reactionaries, if they invade our country again, we'll wipe them out. Our main aim is to have peace so that decent people like us can live in happiness, not just for our own generation, but for generations to come.