Vietnam mourns the death of General Vo Nguyen Giap

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Last week General Vo Nguyen Giap passed away at the age of 102. His funeral and the  outpouring of public deference and remembrance leading up to it has only been surpassed by Ho Chi Minh’s death more than forty years ago. General Giap will be remembered as a staunch nationalist who was instrumental in defeating the French and subsequently the Americans allowing Vietnam to become an independent and later united country. An obituary from the BBC summarizing his life can be found here.

I live right around the corner from General Giap’s house and from Tuesday to Friday last week it was incredible to watch the perpetual kilometer long queue snake along the streets to his house as mourners waited for hours to lay flowers. There was a huge variety of people from old decorated veterans to young school children – quite amazing as Vietnam is such a young country with half its population under the age of 25 and hence born long after the war ended. There is a good article here – ‘What did General Giap mean to Vietnam’. Below are a few of my photos showing the queue last week, but some striking ones of the funeral procession on Saturday can be found here on a beautiful photography blog The Other Side – General Giap’s Farewell.

The student youth organization managing the crowds

The student youth organization managing the crowds

It was very hot and sunny!

Waiting for hours in the sun – it  was very hot!

Young students praying in front of his house

Young students praying in front of his house.

Free bread and water was handed out to people as they waited.

Sharing – free bread and water was handed out to people as they waited.

Two rather less somber men eager to have their photo taken.

Two rather less somber men in the queue eager to have their photo taken.

 

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