Vietnam opens memorial to honor fallen soldiers in Spratly battle with China

By Nguyen Xanh, Xuan Ngoc   July 15, 2017 | 01:57 am PT
The memorial is named after the Gac Ma Reef, which 64 Vietnamese soldiers died defending three decades ago.

Veterans and families of war martyrs at the opening of the Gac Ma Memorial in the central province of Khanh Hoa on Saturday. The memorial, highlighted with the "Immortals Circle," is built to remember 64 Vietnamese soldiers who died defending three reefs in the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago in March 1988. They lost Gac Ma, and thus have always been known as Gac Ma soldiers.


Tran Thi Hue from Da Nang brings a letter her son wrote home before he died.


Bags of the dead soldiers are among exhibits at the memorial.


Ha Thi Lien from Ha Tinh Province hugs the photo of her dead son. “I still see him when I sleep,” she said.


Do Thi Hien with the photo of her late husband.


The granite statues are more than 14 tons each.


The memorial stands over 2.5 hectares (6.2 acres). Construction started in March 2015, costing more than VND130 billion ($5.7 million).

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