Wednesday, March 21, 2012

44th My Lai massacre commemorated


American veteran Roy Mike Boehm stands on the foot of the Son My monument
 to play violin, as he has done for the last 14 years.

After the bell to pray for the souls of victims, American veteran Roy Mike Boehm stood on the foot of the Son My monument to play violin, as he has done for the last 14 years.

Long lines of people offered flowers and burned incenses at the Son My monument. As usual, American veteran Bille Kelly still brought 504 red roses and the message for a peaceful world to Son My.

Heading the delegation of the Korean Organization for International Cooperation (KOICA), Mr. Lee Dong Hyun, said: “We sympathize with your loss. Commemorating the My Lai massacre, we are more penetrated with pain, more responsible and further respect our peaceful life today.”

On this occasion, South Korean’s TV station SBS produces a documentary about the 44th My Lai massacre anniversary and the powerful vitality in My Son.Every March, many American veterans and representatives of peace loving organizations in the world come to Vietnam, to My Lai, to quietly participate in charity activities in a bid to heal wounds of war as their apology.

After the anniversary, American veteran Mike Boehm, the founder of Madison Quakers non-governmental organization , presented 30 scholarships worth VND1 million ($50) each to poor students from the Tinh Khe Primary School in Son Tinh commune.

The My Lai Massacre was the Vietnam War mass murder of 504 unarmed civilians in South Vietnam on March 16, 1968, by United States Army soldiers of "Charlie" Company of 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Brigade of the America Division. Most of the victims were women, children, and elderly people.


American veteran Billy Kelly puts a card with the message for a peaceful world in his rose basket.

While 26 US soldiers were initially charged with criminal offenses for their actions at My Lai, only Second Lieutenant William Calley, a platoon leader in Charlie Company, was convicted. Found guilty of killing 22 villagers, he was originally given a life sentence, but only served three and a half years under house arrest.

The massacre took place in the hamlets of My Lai and My Khe of Son My village. The event is also known as the Son My massacre. When the incident became public knowledge in 1969, it prompted widespread outrage around the world. The massacre also increased domestic opposition to the US involvement in the Vietnam War.