Monday, September 26, 2022, 21:48 (GMT+7)

Saturday, July 23, 2022, 08:15 (GMT+7)
Humanity via Ho Chi Minh’s saying “war invalids are disabled, but not useless”

When he was alive, President Ho Chi Minh always expressed his infinite love and respect for everyone, especially for war invalids and martyrs. He set a good example when showing his deep gratitude to war invalids and martyrs. That is also the clearest evidence of humanity in his ideological legacy.

In 2022, we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the War Invalids and Martyrs Day (July 27th, 1947 – July 27th, 2022) and the 66-year implementation of President Ho Chi Minh’s teaching “war invalids are disabled, but not useless”, with our deep respect and gratitude to war heroes, martyrs, invalids, sick soldiers, and veterans. “Remembering the source when drinking water” and “paying debt of gratitude” represent a sacred moral tradition of Vietnamese people, directing our hearts towards Vietnamese Heroic Mothers. War Invalids and Martyrs Day gives us a chance to express gratitude to families with meritorious services to the country and the revolution as well. Our people’s affection is crystallised throughout President Ho Chi Minh’s heartfelt love and considerate care for war invalids and martyrs as well as for their families and relatives. His tears falling down onto the hands of the war invalids with vision loss during his visit to Ha Noi Vocational School for Vision-impaired War Invalids on new year eve of 1956 spoke everything. In spite of being unable to clearly see Uncle Ho’s face, those war invalids did realise and feel the immense affection from the President’s heart; they listened to His words of compassion and consideration: “war invalids are disabled, but not useless”.

The celebration of the 75th anniversary of the War Invalids and Martyrs Day brings back vivid memories of the old days of bombardment . That reminiscence enables us to understand more about President Ho Chi Minh’s ideology and affection towards war invalids and martyrs. He ever described imperialists and colonialists as demons that should be exorcised. According to him, all miserable labourers share the same situation and fate; therefore, they are friends and comrades of one another. “All yellow, black, white, and red people are brothers and sisters”, “all types of blood are red”, “all tears are salty”, he said. However, in this world, there are still invasions, potentates, and countless miseries of the people; we must fight to protect human conscience and dignity, as said by President Ho Chi Minh that “We'd rather sacrifice everything than lose the country and be enslaved”, “nothing is more precious than independence and freedom”. In our great patriotic wars, casualties suffered by us were unavoidable, which is the pain of all Vietnamese people. Although all Vietnamese citizens were ready to “sacrifice their lives for the immortality of the Fatherland”, President Ho Chi Minh sought every way to avoid bloodshed and minimise casualties. Once we were forced to take up arms, there would be more war invalids and martyrs. That was an extreme pain to him.

President Ho Chi minh visits Ha Noi Vocational School for Vision-impaired War Invalids in 1956 (A file photo)

During our resistance wars against the French and the US aggressors, from 1946 to his death, President Ho Chi Minh wrote a large number of letters of consolation and called on compatriots across the country to help war invalids and martyrs’ families. His kindness and affection acted as a huge source of encouragement to war invalids, sick soldiers, and martyrs’ relatives. That helped stimulate patriotism and unity and mobilise all people’s resources for our resistance wars, national construction, national independence, and people’s happiness. That was also the most practical way to pay debt of gratitude to war invalids and martyrs. In the early days of the making of of our Democratic Republic, we encountered numerous hardships and had to deal with both internal and external enemies; at that time, our country was hung by a thread. In that context, he made an appeal for national resistance to encourage all people and soldiers across the country to rise up as one and fight for national independence and freedom. His appeal conveyed a historic message and the Vietnamese people’s determination to sacrifice everything for national independence and freedom. On November 7th, 1946, he announced an important decision infused with affection: “As a way to express my thanks and regards to soldiers who had sacrificed their lives for national freedom, independence, and unification in both revolutionary and resistance periods on behalf of the Fatherland and the entire people and Government, I will adopt all children of martyrs families”. In his touching letter sent to Doctor Vu Dinh Tung, a Catholic intellectual, Minister of Social Humanitarian Support in January 1947, he wrote: “I was reported that your son had heroically sacrificed his life for the Fatherland. As you know, I’m not married and I have no children. The nation of Viet Nam is my family. All Vietnamese young people are my descendants. I feel extremely painful when a young citizen falls on the battlefield. You sacrifice your precious possession for the Fatherland. On behalf of the Government, I would like to express my thanks to you”. That letter was a typical example of the close-knit bond between the President and war invalids and martyrs’ families.

On July 17th, 1947, he sent a letter to the Standing Committee of the Organisation Board for the Nation-wide War Invalids Day in order to pave the way for the recognition of the 27th of July as the annual War Invalids and Martyrs Day. The letter read: “War invalids are those who sacrificed parts of their bodies to protect the Fatherland and compatriots. For benefits of the country and all citizens, they suffer from sickness and impairment. Thus, the Government and the people should honour and support those brave people”. “In the current fight against foreign invaders, I’m sure that our compatriots will be pleased to quit a meal every few months so as to help wounded soldiers. The 27th of July will be an opportunity for our compatriots to express their piety and affection for war invalids. With our compatriots’ sharing spirit, I believe that the War Invalids Day will bear good fruits”. In July 1948, in his letter to sick soldiers and war invalids, he encouraged and recommended them to improve their health and knowledge. “Once your health is restored, you will be keen to work for the Fatherland like the way you courageously protected the country; you will become exemplary citizens in the rear like you ever acted as typical soldiers on the battlefield”, he added.

In September 1951, President Ho Chi Minh sent a letter of thanks to sick soldiers and war invalids at Sedge Mat Weaving Camp (Tuyen Quang province) for giving him 4 sedge mats. In the letter, he kindly asked how long those sick soldiers and war invalids spent weaving a sedge mat and whether that job could afford their life. Also, he sent them T-shirts as a prize for their emulation movement. That letter proved his saying “war invalids are disabled, but not useless” to be true. It should be noted that on June 5th, 1952, in a series of articles commending heroes and emulation fighters, there was a touching article about a war invalid who later became a hero of labour. That was Hero Ngo Gia Kham, who made the first grenade of the Vietnam People’s Army, who was three times injured for rescuing his factory. In spite of lost vision and two fractured arms, Ngo Gia Kham was unafraid of difficulties, strived to make progress night and day, and resolutely excellently fulfilled all his assigned tasks. Efforts made by that man once again proved President Ho Chi Minh’s saying “war invalids are disabled, but not useless” to be true.

On July 27th, 1959, in his letter to war invalids and families of martyrs, he wished martyrs’ families to become exemplary revolutionary families. He also highly commended typical war invalids, such as comrades Le Danh from Sao Mai Group (Hai Duong province) and Luu Van Bong from Quang Vinh Group (Quang Binh province) who were presented with orders as well as other war invalids who had no arms or legs but were elected as Chairmen of commune-level people’s committees or heads of cooperatives in the provinces of Thai Binh, Hoa Binh, and Thanh Hoa. That illustrates his attentive care and trust for “disabled but not useless” war invalids.

When war invalids came back to their normal life with other people, President Ho Chi Minh kindly recommended them not to ask for too much or behave as meritorious persons. He required them to stay close to the people, respect the people, learn from others, strive to participate in local production and social affairs, and preserve the tradition of “Uncle Ho’s Soldiers”. The President encouraged sick soldiers and war invalids at nursing centres to actively improve their health. He sent a lot of letters to Doctor, Minister Vu Dinh Tung on the yearly War Invalids and Martyrs Days, while suggesting delivering one month of his salary and shirts and scarves presented by compatriots across the country to war invalids. Besides, he proposed encouraging compatriots to take war invalids to their communes for nurture, deducting part of public land, or borrowing plantations from landlords to organise agricultural production and ensure war invalids’ life. According to Ho Chi Minh, that is our duty to pay debt of gratitude, not the “act of generosity”. That demonstrates the kindness, tenderness, and elaborateness of the President’s leadership and management mindset, while enabling us to clearly understand Uncle Ho’s sentiment and affection for war invalids and martyrs.

When President Ho Chi Minh was seriously ill, electric fans were employed in his room; however, he required those who were serving him to bring those fans to war invalids at nursing centres. Such a simple deed helps us more deeply feel his greatness and love for each of us and particularly for war invalids and martyrs.

Those above-mentioned things are just amongst countless, tireless efforts expressing President Ho Chi Minh’s noble affection for war invalids and martyrs. In order that President Ho Chi Minh’s humanity and our Party and State’s guidelines and policies for war invalids, martyrs’ families, and people with meritorious services to the revolution will be better realised to encourage those beneficiaries to keep devoting themselves to the Fatherland construction and protection, the entire Party, Military, and people should focus on well implementing the following measures.

First of all, actively, deeply, widely disseminate President Ho Chi Minh’s noble humanity for war invalids and martyrs’ families. It is necessary to encourage the entire Party, Military, and people to actively follow President Ho Chi Minh’s moral example and well implement preferential treatment policies for people with meritorious services to the revolution as our present generation’s scared affection and responsibility. Doing so will provide a solid foundation for ensuring social progress and equality, deeply demonstrating our regime’s pre-eminence and fine nature, strengthening the national great unity block, and cementing the people’s faith in our Party and State. At the same time, it is important to render sick soldiers, war invalids, and martyrs’ families fully aware of Uncle Ho’s teachings on their active participation in social activities and economic development to deserve President Ho Chi Minh’s praise “war invalids are disabled, but not useless”.

Second, our Party and State should continue focusing on completing and effectively executing their guidelines, policies, and laws for sick soldiers, war invalids, martyrs’ families, and people with meritorious services to the revolution. Due regard should be paid to sick soldiers, war invalids, and martyrs’ families in difficulty, in isolated, remote areas, or in areas mainly inhabited by ethnic minority groups as a regular job. Currently, the most practical and important thing for us to pay debt of gratitude to war invalids and martyrs is to keep enhancing the building and rectification of our Party and political system so that our Party will always be a truly pure, strong ruling party and our cadres and party members will always be loyal, dedicated servants of the people.

Third, educate the youth on revolutionary tradition and morality. Training and cultivating the youth represent a proactive preparation for the country’s future; according to President Ho Chi Minh’s Testament, that is a task of paramount importance. Due attention should be paid to educating young citizens on revolutionary tradition and morality in order that the youth will comprehend great contributions made by war invalids, martyrs, and people with meritorious services to the revolution. Emphasis should be placed on educating young citizens on the country’s tradition of “remembering the source when drinking water” and the task of taking care of beneficiaries performed by our entire Party, State, and society. It can’t be denied that families, schools, and the entire society must be mainly responsible for the deviant lifestyle of a section of young people. To tackle this issue, all-level party committees, authorities, sectors, and organisations should continue grasping the Party’s resolutions and directives, frequently well educating the youth, building up the Vietnamese young generation’s patriotism and steadfastness in national independence and socialism, and improving young people’s revolutionary morality, law-abiding culture, lifestyle, professional competence, and work skills and methods to become good citizens. At the same time, it is vital to encourage young citizens to actively study and follow Ho Chi Minh’s thought, ethics, and style, well implement the “gratitude” movement, take care of sick soldiers, martyrs’ feeble old parents, and Vietnamese heroic mothers as a significant contribution to celebrating the War Invalids and Martyrs Day.

Prof. HOANG CHI BAO, Ph.D  

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