Vietnamese, foreigners pray for John McCain’s soul in Hanoi

By Vu Anh, Phuong Vu   August 27, 2018 | 10:20 am GMT+7
Vietnamese, foreigners pray for John McCain’s soul in Hanoi
Hanoi residents Le Phuong and Trinh Thanh (R) pay tribute to John McCain at Truc Bach Lake. Photo by VnExpress/Vu Anh

People in Hanoi have placed flowers and burned incense at the Truc Bach Lake, where John McCain was captured 51 years ago.

Even though John McCain participated in bombing the North, he also greatly contributed to the normalization of Vietnam - U.S. ties, a couple, Le Phuong and Trinh Thanh, told VnExpress.

On October 26, 1967, John McCain’s plane was shot down and he parachuted into the Truc Bach Lake. He was imprisoned for more than five years at Hoa Lo Prison and freed after Paris Peace Accords in 1973.

McCain worked hard later in his career to neutralize the feud between the two countries, and is regarded by many Vietnamese as a friend and a peacemaker.

McCain first returned to Hanoi was in 1985, 10 years before diplomatic relations were restored between the two countries. Thereafter, he regularly visited Vietnam, with his most recent trip being to Cam Ranh Port in June 2017 on the naval vessel named after him.

“We still want to pay tribute to John McCain for his fervent support of closer bilateral ties,” the couple said.

U.S. citizen Kristin places flowers in memory of the late U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) at the McCain Memorial in Hanoi, Vietnam August 26, 2018. Photo by Reuters/Kham

Kristin, a U.S. citizen, places flowers in memory of the late U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) at the McCain Memorial in Hanoi, Vietnam, August 26, 2018. Photo by Reuters/Kham

English teacher Derek Davis from the U.S. places a U.S. flag and flowers in memory of the late U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) at the McCain Memorial in Hanoi, Vietnam August 26, 2018. Photo by Reuters/Kham

English teacher Derek Davis from the U.S. places a U.S. flag and flowers in memory of the late U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) at the McCain Memorial in Hanoi, Vietnam, August 26, 2018. Photo by Reuters/Kham

U.S. citizen Robert Gibb places flowers in memory of the late U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) at the McCain Memorial in Hanoi, Vietnam August 26, 2018. Photo by Reuters/Kham

U.S. citizen Robert Gibb places flowers in memory of the late U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) at the McCain Memorial in Hanoi, Vietnam August 26, 2018. Photo by Reuters/Kham

Former Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh reminisced about John McCain's affection for Vietnam. The two met in November 2014, when Vinh arrived in the U.S. to assume the position of Vietnam ambassador to Vietnam in Washington.

Pham Quang Vinh (L) shakes hand with John McCain in 2015. Photo acquired by VnExpress

Pham Quang Vinh (L) shakes hand with John McCain in 2015. Photo acquired by VnExpress

"The senator expressed his desire to further promote bilateral and multilateral relations between Vietnam and the United States, and he hoped Vietnam would play a more active role in contributing to peace, stability and development. He mentioned maritime safety and security in the Asia-Pacific region, in particular," Vinh told reporters at his home on August 26, shortly after hearing news of John McCain's death.

U.S. President John Kerry and McCain visits Vietnam Military History Museum back in 1993. Photo by Reuters

U.S. President John Kerry and McCain visits Vietnam Military History Museum back in 1993. Photo by Reuters

McCain, who was elected senator six times during more than 30 years of "rioting" in US politics, which included two presidential campaigns, said that “as he continues in American politics, he continues to support U.S.-Vietnam relations.”

The former ambassador said John McCain treasured many things from Vietnam, including pictures or photographs presented by Vietnamese leaders.

The photo showing McCain being saved from the Truc Bach Lake stands in a corner of his room.

On Sunday, the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Vietnam announced to launch the McCain/Kerry Fellowship program to honor the contribution of Senator John McCain and his former colleague John Kerry on issues related to U.S.-Vietnam relations.

John McCain visits Hoa Lo Prison in 2000. Photo by Reuters

John McCain visits Hoa Lo Prison in 2000. Photo by Reuters

 
 
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