Finding Memories show in Hanoi’s Hoa Lo Prison

Friday, 2017-12-01 02:51:00
 Font Size:     |        Print
 

Visitors at the exhibition. (Credit: NDO)
 Font Size:     |  

NDO/VNA – Documents, photographs and memorabilia of American prisoners of war went on show at Tim Lai Ky Uc (Finding Memories) in Hoa Lo Prison on November 29 and will run until February, 2018.

The event also marks the 45th anniversary of the historic battle against US B-52 bombers in December 1972 - the “Dien Bien Phu in the Air" as it is known. Many of the bombers were downed and taken into captivity by local people.

World outcry, including by the peace movement in the US and other countries, helped push the Americans back to the negotiating table in Paris.

With more than 250 items, Finding Memories takes people back to the tough 12 days and nights in late December, 1972, as endless US bomber attacks pounded strategic links, including important bridges and even Bach Mai Hospital.

The exhibition features stories about the daily lives of American prisoners of war in Hoa Lo Prison, Truong Minh Tien, Deputy Head of the Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports, said at an opening event of the exhibition.

Forty five years have passed, yet the heroic spirit of the "Dien Bien Phu in the Air" victory will remain forever. Vietnamese people are always grateful to American peace lovers and aim to heal the pain of war and build a peaceful future together, Tien added.

The show features four themes: Facing B52, Hanoi - Hilton Hotel, Coming Back Home, and Building Up the Future, recreating the struggle of local people who overcame the sorrow and loss caused by the war. It gives visitors an opportunity to understand the severe destruction and painfully grim nature of war.

On December 1972, the US launched an air attack deploying B-52 fighters over Hanoi and other cities in the northern Vietnam. The operation was intended to redeem the US’s failure on the southern battle front and to push Vietnam to make concessions in Paris.

The US mobilised 197 of its 207 B-52 bombers and 1,077 other aircraft from three air force bases - plus six aircraft carriers - during the campaign.

Each wave of B-52 bombers dropped bombs onto Hanoi and many other big cities, including Hai Phong.

Up to 40% of the 100,000 tonnes of bombs dropped on the North during the campaign rained down on Hanoi. As many as 1,318 Hanoians were killed and 2,000 houses destroyed, cited the museum’s source.

The Vietnamese army and people shot down numerous aircraft, including B-52s, and captured many enemy pilots, who were then taken to Hoa Lo Prison, where they were generally treated with kindness.

The "Hanoi-Dien Bien Phu in the Air" victory from December 18 to 29, 1972, forced the US to the Paris negotiating table. The Americans withdrew their forces from south Vietnam, leading to national reunification two years later.