Americans healing the wounds of war honored by Vietnam

Pham Huan, VOV resident reporter in the US
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(VOVWORLD) -Three Americans – a peace activist, a war correspondent, and a politico-military analyst – were presented with Vietnam’s medal of honor for their anti-war advocacy, healing the wounds of war, and fostering friendship between the two countries.

Americans healing the wounds of war honored by Vietnam  - ảnh 1Commemorative ceremony for American friends. Photo: VOV

On June 17 in Washington DC, Phan Anh Son, Vice President and General Secretary of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO) and Ambassador of Vietnam to the US Nguyen Quoc Dung respectfully conferred the badge of peace and friendship between nations on Ron Carver, Ronald Haeberle, and Daniel Ellsberg. This is VUFO’s highest distinction in recognition of what the three Americans have done to boost mutual understanding between the two peoples.

Since the war ended in 1975, they have carried out multiple humanitarian projects to help Vietnamese people overcome war consequences and have sponsored disaster recovery in Vietnam.

Americans healing the wounds of war honored by Vietnam  - ảnh 2 Mr. Ron Carver receives the badge of peace and friendship between nations. Photo: VOV

Ron Carver, a peace activist who joined demonstrations demanding an end to the US war in Vietnam, was visibly moved at the commemoration ceremony.

“I’m very moved to receive this award. My time working against the war 50 years ago and my time over the past six years, with eight visits to Vietnam working with the War Remnants Museum and working with Renew to clear the hundreds of thousands of landmines and bombs that still cover the countryside has been very important to my life, as a young man and now as an older man. And so to be here at the Embassy and receive this support is a tremendous honor of my life,” he said. 

Ronald Haeberle, a  war correspondent who took more than 60 photos documenting the bloody massacre at My Lai hamlet, Son My village, Quang Ngai province, on March 16, 1968, was present at the emotional ceremony. His photos helped bring the brutal massacre to light and stoked more vehement anti-war protests.

The mass anti-war movement spreading all over the world encouraged Vietnam’s resistance on the military and diplomatic fronts and resulted in the signing of the 1973 Paris Peace Accords on ending the war and restoring peace in Vietnam. It forced the US government to withdraw its troops and enabled Vietnam to reunify the country. The victory owed a lot to the valuable contributions of American friends like Haeberle.

Americans healing the wounds of war honored by Vietnam  - ảnh 3 Mr. Ronald Haeberle receives the badge of peace and friendship between nations. Photo: VOV

Since peace was restored in Vietnam, Mr. Haeberle has returned to Son My village many times for humanitarian missions, education on mine accident prevention, and support for victims and people with disabilities.

In 2020 he raised more than 28,000 USD to help people in Quang Ngai and Quang Tri recover from devastating storms and floods. Mr. Haeberle said he will continue to help Vietnamese in need and he believes strongly in the future of Vietnam-US relations.

“I think the relationship between Vietnam and the US will become stronger and stronger with win-win cooperation and reasonable agreements together. To me that would be fantastic."

Daniel Ellsberg, a political activist who was called an American hero after revealing Pentagon documents concerning the war in Vietnam, could not attend the ceremony because of health reasons. Pictures of Vietnam's grateful gift were delivered to him the day before his death.