|Soldiers on An Bang island. (Photo: Thu Lan)
“This is the first time I’ve visited Truong Sa. I’ve heard a lot about the archipelago, so it feels familiar but actually there are many things new to me,” said Dao Thi Hong Hanh, a member of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Council.
“When I was told I would be able to travel to Truong Sa, I was very excited. I was surprised to see so many new things and I have mixed feelings. Sometimes I was speechless observing the soldiers on duty, who are young but experienced and tempered by hardship,” she said.
Like Hanh, other delegates were moved and filled with pride. Although they have read and heard a lot about Truong Sa, when they set foot on the islands, touched the national sovereignty markers, attended the flag-raising ceremony, and observed the life of the people and soldiers on the islands and platforms, all their emotions were enhanced.
|Dao Thi Hong Hanh, a member of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Council, and children on Sinh Ton island. (Photo: VOV)
Miss Grand International Nguyen Thuc Thuy Tien recalled that after two days at sea, on the morning of the third day, they all woke up very early. Co Lin island of the Truong Sa archipelago appeared in front of them. They were filled with joy to see the national flag of Vietnam flying above the island.
Visiting Co Lin, Sinh Ton, An Bang, Da Dong A, Da Tay A and Truong Sa island and the DK 1 platform, Thuy Tien noted that the soldiers there have bravely faced many difficulties and challenges and have upheld a staunch spirit to protect the sovereignty of Vietnam’s sea and islands.
“When I arrived in Truong Sa and saw everything with my own eyes, my patriotism multiplied. When I return to the mainland, I will conduct a media campaign to make sure more young people know about Truong Sa. I have undying esteem for the people and soldiers here. These young people think big and have positive energy and a desire to serve Vietnam,” Tien said.
|Miss Grand International Nguyen Thuc Thuy Tien pose for a photo with soldiers on Co Lin island. (Photo: VOV)
Teacher Le Lam, Rector of Dai Viet-Sai Gon College said that before the trip, he read about Truong Sa and the DK1 platform. When he saw with his own eyes the life and work of the naval soldiers, he felt respect for the spirit of the people and soldiers protecting Vietnam’s sea and islands.
On the islands, submerged islands, and precarious platforms at sea, the soldiers are optimistic, cheerful, in high spirits, ready to protect the Fatherland, and devoted to the nation.
“I have mixed emotions. I respect the iron will of the officers and soldiers on duty on the archipelago. They are fearless and nothing can stop them,” said Lam.
Nguyen Minh Khang, a member of the Ho Chi Minh City Veterans Association, said he and his comrades fought in the war against the US. To have a peaceful country today, many people sacrificed their lives. Meeting the soldiers on Truong Sa, who are as young as his grandchildren, he felt confidence in their bravery and patriotism.
“I feel lucky and happy to visit Truong Sa and the DK1 platform and meet the soldiers who are safeguarding the sea and islands. When we return home, we’ll tell people about the cause of defending Vietnam’s sea and islands,” said Lam.
|Children on Song Tu Tay island. (Photo: Thu Lan)
While visiting Sinh Ton island, the delegates attended a flag hoisting ceremony with the soldiers of Brigade 146. After singing the national anthem, they listened to 10 sacred oaths sworn by the soldiers of the Vietnamese People's Army. The oaths reinforced the determination of each soldier to protect the sovereignty of the sea and islands.
Lieutenant Le Thanh Dat of Combat Group 1, Sinh Ton Island, said he was honored to be chosen to read the 10 oaths. Dat said that saluting the national flag in front of the sovereignty marker on Sinh Ton island is always a sacred ceremony which reminds them of their duty to defend national sovereignty in all circumstances.
“Whenever they sing the national anthem and read the 10 oaths, they hear the Motherland calling,” said Dat, “They accepted the duty on the island with a determination to devote all their strength to defending Vietnam’s sea and islands.”
|Soldiers of Brigade 146 on Song Tu Tay island. (Photo: VOV)
Truong Sa Brigade 146 of Naval Region 4 was established in 1978. Over the last 45 years, its officers and soldiers have overcome countless hardships to resolutely defend Vietnam’s sovereignty over Truong Sa archipelago and contribute to the management and defense of the sea and islands.
Major Tran Dai Vinh, Commander of An Bang Island, said, “We are determined to fulfill our duty. We have trained ourselves to march onward despite difficulties to complete our assigned mission. We are always in combat readiness and closely monitor the situation to detect any incident that needs to be reported to headquarters.”
Senior Lieutenant Colonel Pham The Nhuong, Commander of Truong Sa Island, said that the naval soldiers consider the island their home and the sea their homeland.
“We follow the footsteps of our fathers and brothers. We’ve adopted a firm will and taken concrete actions. Our work is to train for combat readiness, build the island, and reinforce community unity. We are determined to defend Vietnam’s islands and national waters,” said Nhuong.
|A flag salute ceremony on Song Tu Tay island. (Photo: VOV)
Tran Kim Yen, Chairwoman of the Vietnam Fatherland Front of HCMC, said the city has organized many programs to help the people and soldiers in the Truong Sa archipelago, such as “Donating rocks to build Truong Sa”, “Together to light up DK platforms”, “Accompanying fishermen at sea”, and “For a green Truong Sa.” Mrs. Yen said during the journey, the Ho Chi Minh city delegation gave 1.2 million USD to the naval soldiers and people on the islands and the DK1 platform.
“We carry the emotions of people of the mainland to the soldiers and islanders of Truong Sa archipelago and the DK1 platform. We understand their hardship and we hope the care of the mainlanders will encourage them to overcome all difficulties to firmly defend our waters.”