A Rainy Independence Day

Today is September the 2nd. It’s a fairly significant day in history. On a minor note, it’s Father’s Day in Australia. I spoke to my father, and he spoke to his father, but sadly I won’t be getting a call from my daughter.

But more significantly, 67 years ago, on September the 2nd 1945, Japan conceded defeat against the Allies, bringing an end to World War II and returning the world to a state of “peace”.

Vietnam, one of the oldest known agrarian societies in the world, with a cultural history of over 20,000 years. From the Hồng Bàng Dynasty as far back 2879 BC when the Việt Nam states were first formed to protect and unite the Red River Delta, Việt Nam has held strong to its independence. It did fall to foreign rule under many Chinese and regional dynasties for 1,100 years.

Many invaders including Mongols, Chams, Mings, Dutch, French and American tried to gain control of Vietnam. The Ming conquered for years before Vietnamese dynasties regained independence, followed by nearly a century of French rule and later Japanese occupation.

Before French rule, the Nguyễn Dynasty struck various agreements with the French, making concesssions over control of their country. Nguyễn Ánh tolerated catholicism, but later emperorers Minh Mạng, Thiệu Trị, and Tự Đức took a hard stance and outlawed all catholic practices in favour of Confucionism.

in 1858, the French attempted but failed to capture Đà Nẵng, starting the beginning of the French invasion. Instead they captured Gia Định, known today as Ho Chi Minh City, but to the locals it is still Sài Gòn.

The French formed a colony known as Cochinchina which eventually became part of French Indochina, encompassing Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. in 1873 and later 1882, the French captured Hà Nội, which they called Tonkin.

Revolutionaries such as Phan Bội Châu and Phan Châu Trinh attempted via different means to modernise the culture of Việt Nam through both military strategy and modernisation of trade. In the early 20th century, Việt Nam adopted Quốc Ngữ, the more romanised alphabet, replacing their old and complicated Chinese based scripts in order to improve literacy.

Communism came to Việt Nam through many avenues during this period. Marxism, Trotskyism and the Annamese and Indochinese Communist parties. Trần Phú became the first leader of the Vietnamese Communist Party.

In 1940, Japan invaded Indochina, leaving the French rulers in control as puppets. During the final years of World War II, many Vietnamese starved under harsh Japanese rule. In 1941, a man known as Nguyễn Ái Quốc came to Northern Việt Nam to form Việt Nam Độc Lập Đồng Minh Hội, The League for the Independence of Vietnam, collecting all the different groups fighting for independence together.

In 1945, at the end of the war, when the Allies defeated Japan, it create an opportunity for the sieze power from the now defeated Japanese.

And such it is that on September 2nd, 1945, Nguyễn Ái Quốc, now known as Hồ Chí Minh declared the country the Democratic Republic of Việt Nam, ending centuries of name changes under different rule.

Vietnam’s new history as an independent country was not easy, and the French did not reqlinquish rule without a fight and it was not until 1954 that the French were defeated, and a period of civil war erupted between the North and South, with Ngô Đình Diệm in the south and Hô Chi Minh in the north fighting a civil war that involved assistance from many countries, ending finally in 1976, uniting Việt Nam as one country, under communist rule.

Even though Hô Chi Minh represented the North’s defeat of the South, he is revered as the man who brought independence to Việt Nam, and sadly it was in 1969, 7 years before the joining of Việt Nam as a single united country that he passed away. His body is still on display in Hanoi and thousands of people visit it every day.

Hô Chi Minh, or “Uncle Hô” we you would call him in English, died on September 2nd, the anniversiry of the same day he declared Việt Nam’s independence.

That is why today, in Việt Nam, it is a national holiday. We will all be celebrating. Like Australia Day in Australia, Independence Day in America, today is Independence Day in Vietnam, and I will be wearing my Hô Chi Minh T-shirt and I will have my bright red Lenovo laptop with the 5 pointed Vietnamese star on it.

The flag’s red represents the blood shed throughout the years during the fight for independence. The yellow represents the one dream that all Vietnamese have and the five points represent the intellectuals, peasants, workers, traders and soldiers that make Việt Nam what it is today.

Nguyễn Hữu Tiến who designed the flag, wrote this about it:

All those of red blood and yellow skin
Together we fight under the nation’s sacred flag
The flag is soaked with our crimson blood, shed for the nation
The yellow star is the colour of our race’s skin
Stand up, quickly! The nation’s soul is calling for us
Intellectuals, peasants, workers, traders and armymen
United as a five-pointed yellow star..

Today we drink, to Hô Chi Minh, and to Việt Nam !

This entry was posted in Politics, Travel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Rainy Independence Day

  1. johny says:

    We met a few days ago in ho chi minh good look dangerous.Johny

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *