Vietnam pulls plug on public holiday proposal for War Invalids and Martyrs Day

By Hoang Thuy   June 12, 2019 | 09:38 pm PT
Vietnam pulls plug on public holiday proposal for War Invalids and Martyrs Day
The war memorial for victims of the My Lai massacre in Son My Village, Quang Ngai Province in central Vietnam. Photo by AFP/Nhac Nguyen
The government has scrapped a proposal to make July 27, War Invalids and Martyrs Day, a public holiday after lawmakers vetoed it.

The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs had proposed incorporating it in amendments to the Labor Code but on Wednesday decided against it after most National Assembly deputies disagreed.

Deputy Cao Dinh Thuong said Vietnam has for years commemorated war heroes, martyrs and people with meritorious contributions on July 27.

"It needs careful consideration if we decide to treat that day as a public holiday. If the public takes a day’s break in the name of tribute, it could hurt the families or comrades of those who died."

Delegate Vu Trong Kim said he disagreed with the proposal since the nation should not remind families that lost members during the wars of the pain. Kim suggested that the Children's Day June 1 is a public holiday "to give all the best to children".

Deputy Nguyen Anh Tri said the idea of making July 27 a tribute day "sounds interesting at first but is in fact problematic when considered carefully."

"Calling it a day to pay tribute to those with meritorious contributions does not make sense because there are many people we need to pay tribute to, like parents and teachers.

"For a country that has shed way too much blood to achieve freedom and independence like Vietnam, please just let July 27 be a day for commemorating war invalids and martyrs."

Vetoing the proposal, delegate Nguyen Tuan Anh suggested the Vu Lan Festival day, observed on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month when prayers make rituals to pay tribute to parents, is a public holiday.

Since the labor ministry made the proposal last month, it has elicited mixed opinions, with many saying it would hurt families who lost members by reminding them of the wars.

There is also a section that thinks it is necessary for Vietnam to have more public holidays because it has much fewer than its neighboring countries, and more holidays would enable workers to recharge their energies.

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