VietNamNet Bridge – During the war, Hien Luong Bridge on Ben Hai River divided north and South Vietnam. Many Vietnamese people laid down their lives in there to fight for national independence and freedom. Historical relic sites located on both banks of the river have been recognized as special national historical relics. These days, people on both sides of Ben Hai River are jubilantly celebrating National Reunification Day.


Hien Luong Bridge during the war- Photos: Internet


Hien Luong Bridge is 178 m long but it took 21 years for Vietnamese people from the north and the south to be united. The bridge is witness to the Vietnamese people’s fierce but glorious struggle and a reflection of their desire for and belief in victory. During the war, Quang Tri was the most devastated by thousands of tons of bombs and shells. In peace time, the whole country joins in the effort to assist the province’s development.

The 1st National Reunification Festival was held at Hien Luong-Ben Hai Historical Relic in 2005 to mark the occasion of the 30th anniversary of southern liberation and national reunification. This year, the festival will be held from April 28 to 30 featuring a variety of activities. Nguyen Duc Chinh is Chairman of the Quang Tri Provincial People’s Committee: “After 1975, the bridge became a bridge of reunification. It took more than 20 years with many people sacrificing their lives to cross the bridge and connect the two parts of the country. This festival is part of the national program on recalling memories of the war. The festival is a place for people from the two parts of Vietnam to express their nostalgia and their desire for reunification and independence. Hien Luong Bridge and Ben Hai River inspire special feelings among the Vietnamese people”.

The festival will begin with a recreation of the reunification scene on Hien Luong Bridge by people from the southernmost province of Ca Mau and Lang Son border province. This is expected to be an emotional scene for the artists on stage, who will come to the relic site for the first time, as well as the festival’s participants. The performance will be followed by a flag raising ceremony. A 96 square meter flag will be hoisted on the flag platform on Hien Luong Bridge. Nguyen Minh Chau in Trung Hai Commune, Gio Linh District, is a war veteran. He says the national flag pole in Hien Luong Bridge, Ben Hai River represents a symbol of independence and freedom and is a legend from the devastating war: “The flag pole was broken 11 times but the flag never stopped flying. We used everything to make the pole to keep the flag flying. It showed the strong will and determination of the Vietnamese people. The armed forces and citizens did their utmost to defend the flag. It also represents the faith of the southern people. During the fiercest period of the war in 1972, we lit a light by the flag pole to show the soldiers the direction towards the north and Hien Luong Bridge. It was like a lighthouse at sea directing the soldiers to where the shore was”.



The highlight is an art festival starting on April 29, featuring songs on the theme of “Reunification”. Nguyen Huu Thang is Director of Quang Tri Province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism: “Hien Luong Bridge is the place of north-south division and also of reunification. Through song and dance we want to feature the Vietnamese people’s dream of national reunification. The entire nation fought for the southern liberation and national reunification. Many people crossed Hien Luong Bridge and overcame hardships in the fierce war to wrest back independence and freedom. Since 1975, the reunification bridge witnessed the Vietnamese people’s efforts to overcome the war’s consequences and create dramatic change and renewal”.

The vestiges of war remain on both banks of Ben Hai River 40 years after the war. There is Hien Luong and Cua Tung police stations on the northern bank and Xuan Hoa and Cat Son police stations on the other side of the river. Holding the reunification festival on Ben Hai’s banks further emphasized the importance of the victory in the war against the US and celebrates the country’s eventual reconciliation and today’s national unity.