YVONNE EPPS WRITES – If Ho Chi Minh was Vietnam’s superhero, then General Vo Nguyen Giap was his trustee sidekick. Befitting such a person of honor, Vietnamese turned out in the thousands for a two-day national funeral to help send the the general to his final resting place.
General Giap, a 102-year-old war hero, was credited with helping form the Viet Minh, liberating Vietnam from both French and American control, and contributing to his country’s welfare post-war through a variety of official positions.
The funeral service started in Ha Noi City with a tribute from General Secretary of the Communist Party, Nguyen Phu Trong, recalling Gen Giap’s achievements and service. His coffin was draped with the nation’s flag before being taken to an airport in a gun carriage flanked by soldiers in white.
General Giap was truly loved, as Vietnamnet.com was flooded with pictures and videos of people following the service from Ha Noi to Dong Hoi Airport to his final resting place in Vung Chua. So much emotion poured from the Vietnam shores that BBC News joined the action, recognizing that Gen Giap’s death has brought together the people and political leaders alike. Every person watching the procession that cradled Gen Giap’s portrait embodied the liberated Vietnam that he struggled towards, but that ideal appears tarnished. In BBC’s early report of the procession, it stated that the Communist Party would like Gen Giap’s death to be the wake up call to the corruption and bias the Party has developed. This is a rousing slap indeed if the Party is coining these statements.
Rest in peace General Vo Nguyen Giap, as you take your place among the stars. Meanwhile, there shouldn’t be much to worry about down here if your farewell woke up the public, unless they’re still sleeping in their beds, dreaming about your achievements.