Hundreds of local people on March 16 offered incense at the Son My relic site in Tinh Khe district, in the central province of Quang Ngai to pray for victims of a bloody massacre by US soldiers 48 years ago.
The killings that occurred on March 16, 1968 in the South Vietnamese hamlet of My Lai prompted widespread outrage around the world. The massacre is also credited with advancing the end of the American War because it significantly undermined public support in the United States for the war effort.
At the ceremony, Billy Kelly, a US war veteran, sent 504 roses to the monument to commemorate the victims.Some 504 unarmed civilians in Tinh Khe commune were killed, mostly elderly villagers, women and children. Hundreds of houses, along with thousands of heads of cattle and poultry, and all food, were burned and destroyed that day.
Meanwhile, another war veteran Mike Boehm, who is also Managing Director of the Madison Quakers charitable organisation, played a piece of music named “The sound of the violin in My Lai” in memory of the victims.
Over the past 25 years, Boehm has also visited Son My Memorial frequently, where he plays his violin to pray for the souls of the massacre victims and to send out a message of peace.
A book “The Witness from Pinkville”, written by Pham Thanh Cong - one of a dozen survivors of the 1968 My Lai massacre, was published on the 48 th anniversary of the infamous incident.
2,000 copies of the book, 1,000 of which are in English, are available at the Son My Vestige site from March 16.