At the end of February, TRC will once again return to Vietnam to retrieve remains and honor those who perished in the post-war Vietnamese reeducation camps.
On this trip, the families of Captain Hai Van Doan, Captain Vu Van Phu, Captain Son Hong Dang, Captain Minh Van Nguyen, and Lieutenant Colonel Tang Duy Nguyen will finally visit their relative’s final resting place and honor him with a proper burial.
Much work lies ahead. While we have uncovered many isolated camp burial grounds, we need the local Vietnamese officials to provide us with the burial records so that we may identify unmarked and illegible graves. With this information, we will announce the names of those discovered over the radio to the Vietnamese and Vietnamese-Americans who have long lived without knowledge of their relative’s location and assist those who come forward with the recovery process. We are in the process of obtaining permits and letters of introduction to procure this vital information.
We will also continue to meet with US officials at Embassy and Consulate General to garner their assistance in obtaining information and permits from the Vietnamese government. We will continue to push the Chief of the Binh Duong Province for a permit to properly bury the remains of South Vietnamese soldiers discovered in a mass grave in Bien Hoa in the Bien Hoa cemetery (renamed Binh An in 2007).
Of the reeducation camps we have located, a site in Thanh Hoa province has proved the most overwhelming, with an estimated total of 150 graves. We have also uncovered a great number in Ha Nam province.
In the future, we hope to see the establishment of a national military cemetery in Vietnam honoring the fallen ARVN soldiers. A nation cannot deny its history and can only move forward once it recognizes the humanity of all of its citizens. Whether they came from the North or South, they were all Vietnamese who sacrificed their lives for their country.