|State President Truong Tan Sang delivers a speech at the ceremony. Photo: Quang Thai |
On October 23, 1961, the Ministry of National Defence established a military transport corps to open a new marine route known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail at Sea to transport soldiers, goods and weapons to the southern battlefields.
The decision came after supplies coming from northerners had failed to reach their southern compatriots along the Truong Son Trail in the resistance war against the US.
From 1961 to 1975, covert ships had successfully shuttled between north and south, carrying tens of thousands of officials and soldiers, and thousands of tonnes of ammunition, medicines and goods to bases in the south.
The effective and timely transportation of these supplies was a major factor in the great victory of anti-US resistance war in 1975.
Time moves on, but the Ho Chi Minh Trail at Sea is the pride of the Vietnamese army and people forever. It symbolises the revolutionary heroism, wisdom, bravery and iron will of the Vietnamese nation to gain national independence and freedom, said State President Truong Tan Sang at the meeting.
He noted that the opening of the route demonstrated the great creativity, strategic vision and clear-sighted leadership of President Ho Chi Minh, as well as the Party, State and the army of Vietnam in inheriting and promoting predecessors’ tradition of fighting foreign invaders in the new era.
He thanked international friends, including the former Soviet Union, China and other socialist nations, for their heart-felt support and assistance to Vietnam in running this strategic route.
The President called on all Vietnamese to be fully aware of the role of national seas and islands in economic development and national defence, and be steadfast in defending them.
Navy and other military personnel who travelled on the ships recalled their long and dangerous trips, saying many of their comrades sacrificed their lives to protect these vital supply lines and the sea route.
At the meeting, State distinctions including the Ho Chi Minh Order and the title of Hero of People’s Armed Forces were presented to collectives and individuals who took part in the legendary route activities 50 years ago.