Friday, May 17, 2019, 06:30 (GMT+7)
Keeping up the spirit of Truong Son Youth Volunteers in today’s Youth Volunteer Movement

The bravery and great sacrifices of generations of youth volunteers for our revolutionary cause will never be forgotten. And Truong Son Youth Volunteer Corps was a shining example of Vietnamese youth’s revolutionary heroism in the Ho Chi Minh Era. Thus their patriotism, devotion and commitment for national liberation and unification must be kept up in today’s Youth Volunteer Movement.

Youth volunteers dealing with the bomb craters to maintain traffic in Truong Bon (file photo)

Truong Son Youth Volunteers - a generation of national heroes

60 years ago, under the Party’s Central Committee Resolution 15 (Tenure II), the General Command Standing Board ordered “Special Military Group”, aka 559th Group, commanded by Colonel Vo Bam, to construct Truong Son Trail to support battlefields in the South. On June 21, 1965, Prime Minister Directive 71/TTg-CN was issued to establish “Youth Volunteer Groups for the resistance against U.S. Imperialism and national salvation”. Under this directive, youth volunteer groups established by Vietnam Central Labor Youth Union Committee were tasked with operating critical transportation and communication lines. Accordingly, youth volunteer recruitment activities were increased to ensure sufficient manpower for Truong Son Trail operations. In realizing the strategic goal of national liberation and unification, 559th Group simultaneously carried out its task of strategic support and expanded its capabilities. On April 3, 1965, 559th Group became 559th Command, and later on July 29, 1970, it was reorganized as Truong Son Corps. Between 1973 and 1975, the Corps was at peak of its strength with 9 divisions and 21 regiments which consisted of 100,000 troops and nearly 10,000 youth volunteers. These people were responsible for maintaining traffic for routes under the management of 559th Corps, transporting weapons and supply to Theaters B and C; and constructing and protecting depots, warehouses, etc. Therefore, youth volunteers who served in 559th Corps were also called “Truong Son Youth Volunteers”. They were organized into voluntary teams and dispatched to military stations. Needless to say, these contingents were an important element of our voluntary youth force in the Resistance War against U.S. Imperialism.

Fully understanding their responsibilities, with the willingness to devote their life to national liberation and unification, Truong Son Voluntary Youth members overcame the extreme condition of Truong Son Range and faced fatal threats from the enemy’s fire and bombings to fulfill their duty. This was even more difficult for female members. Voluntary units covered a wide range of activities: land transportation by pack-bikes, river-borne transportations, erecting depots and warehouses in caves, providing medical care for wounded troops, or supporting combat operations. Sometimes, female youth members willingly placed themselves in shallow water to guide vehicles crossing streams and rivers or young men and women at the age of 18-20, with 40 - 50 kilograms of supply on their back, trekked 8 hours a day without rest on fixed routes to military depots. These legendary images were the absolute proof of Truong Son youth members’ revolutionary heroism, bravery and commitment. These men and women not only sacrificed their life but also left behind their beautiful youth on every corner of Truong Son Trail for our national liberation and unification.

Generations of Truong Son Youth Volunteers realized Uncle Ho’s precepts in his commemoration letter to Vietnamese youth in the Resistance War against U.S. Imperialism: “… I wish you solidarity and courage in labor and combat, keep yourself healthy, study harder, and achieve more victories in our Resistance War against U.S. Imperialism for national salvation to deserve to be young heroes of a heroic nation”.

Truong Son Voluntary Youth Corps represented a generation of young Vietnamese that: “Carved up Truong Son Range for national salvation/ with full of hope for future in our heart”. Speaking about “Truong Son Youth Volunteers”, “Truong Son Soldiers” or “Ho Chi Minh Trail” is speaking about incontrovertible proofs of our revolutionary heroism and unforgettable memories in our history and in Vietnamese people’s mind.

Keeping up the spirit of Truong Son Youth Volunteers in today’s Youth Volunteer Movement

The delegation of youth volunteers headed by comrade Le Quoc Phong offering incense in commemoration of 13 youth volunteer martyrs in Truong Bon, Do Luong district, Nghe An province (photo: tienphong.vn)

After the liberation of the South, youth volunteer force continued to play pioneering role in border wars and participate in rebuilding the country and boosting economic development. The late Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet expressed that: “Youth voluntary members are young pioneers, willingly to overcome any difficulty and make sacrifice for the country. With not only bravery and hardworking spirit but also creative thinking and absolute loyalty, they worked miracles and deserved to be the spearhead on the most challenging fronts of the nation”.

Currently in Vietnam, there are 22 provinces and cities and several state-owned enterprises that have voluntary youth groups with nearly 10,000 young employees. Keeping up the heroic tradition of previous generations, in the Doi Moi Era, Vietnamese youth in general and voluntary youth members in particular are still the pioneering force in realizing goals and policies issued by the Party and the State. The voluntary and pioneering spirit of our youth has been demonstrated many times in many campaigns such as: “Follow heroes’ footsteps” (1983); “Excellency in manufacturing and running business” (1987); “Youth startup” and “Young people for national defense” (1992); “Emulate and voluntary for national defense and building” (2002); “5 pioneerings for socio-economic development and national defense” (2012). It is obvious that voluntary youth movements have become more and more wide-spreading among young people and in our entire society. In 11th National Congress of Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, Youth Volunteer Movement formally became a revolutionary action movement of the Union for the 2017-2022 tenure.

In 2018 only, there were over 3 millions of young people participating in voluntary programs and campaigns such as: “Voluntary spring”, “Spring on the frontier, Tet on islands”, “Youth month”; “Summer of youth volunteers”, “Winter of youth volunteers”, etc. They also completed many youth construction projects, in which there were 422 provincial-level projects, 4,151 district-level projects, and 75,986 grass-roots level projects, which were worth nearly 787 billion VND in total. Notably, National University Entrance Exam Support Campaign 2018 covered 925,000 examinees; organized 1,462 transport support teams consisting of 12,878 members; and mobilized nearly 13 billion VND in total to support examinees and their relatives. Similarly, Schooling Support Program 2017 successfully provided over 47 billion VND to 117,719 disadvantaged students. Also, “Following Uncle Ho’s Precept” Festival, with the participation of 4,913 young medical personnel, established 253 teams to provide free medical service for 81,456 people. And in 10th Red Sunday Event, which was held in 32 provinces and cities, thousands of youth union cadres and members donated nearly 48,000 blood units.

Currently, the Central Youth Union Committee is implementing “Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union joins hands to build new countryside 2018 - 2022” Project, advising the Government in the implementation of “Ho Chi Minh Youth Union pioneers in protecting environment and dealing with climate change 2018 -2022” Project; providing support for young farmers in collective farms to develop value chains in production and marketing; and realizing “Young intellects voluntarily participate in agricultural reform” Program in 10 provinces and cities. Also, local Youth Unions held many events to plant more trees; protect environment; deal with climate change; conduct natural disaster relief operations; and maintain and construct additional 7,177 roads with “Bright – Green – Clean – Scenic – Civilized – Safe” standards. Hence, it is obvious that Youth Union members of the armed force continue to be the pioneering and key element in implementing youth volunteer movements.

Based on these results, in 2019, on the occasion of 20th Anniversary of National Summer Youth Volunteer Campaign, Central Youth Union Committee announced “Year of Youth Volunteers”. Accordingly, to keep up the spirit of Truong Son Voluntary Youth, the following steps must be taken.

(1) Develop plans that are appropriate to Youth Union members’ task requirements and capabilities. This is a crucial step which determines the success of Youth Volunteer Movement. Accordingly, Youth Union organizations must closely follow political tasks of the country, their own branch and the local province; and actively take part in solving social issues and community development. In doing so, they will create new values in youth volunteer movements and gain support from local authorities and the people. Also, this will ensure the practicality of the movement and demonstrate its distinction. Voluntary activities should focus on: building new countryside, developing civilized urban areas, environment protection, addressing climate change, maintaining public order and traffic safety, and ensuring social welfare. In addition, the following programs must be continued: “National University Entrance Exam Support Campaign”, “Green Summer”, “Pink Vacation”, “Green March”, “Red Flamboyant”, “Winter of Youth Volunteers”, “Spring of Youth Volunteers”, etc.

(2) Continue to renovate and apply new methods to voluntary activities to maintain synchronization and continuity. Accordingly, Youth Union organizations must constantly organize voluntary activities. These activities should be conducted on the spot, and based on the professions of local Youth Union cadres and members. Also, they must aim for specific purposes to ensure effectiveness and sustainability. At the same time, voluntary programs must be expanded and diversified to enhance cooperation with voluntary activities of neighbor countries. Additionally, Youth Union organizations must strengthen their collaboration with other voluntary groups to develop a “voluntary community”, in which young people is the core element, encouraging all social strata to participate in voluntary activities.

(3) Enhance the leadership role of the State; mobilize resources from the society to improve the effectiveness of youth volunteer movements. Youth Union organizations must be proactive and creative in advising authorities on mechanisms and policies to fully exploit the role of the youth in voluntary activities. Additionally, they should ask for additional support and guidance from leadership at all levels in implementing socio-economic development programs and projects in remote and poor areas, social issue management, environment protection, natural disaster and epidemic relief operations, and public safety maintenance. Besides, Youth Union and local authorities must develop appropriate cooperation mechanisms in realizing voluntary programs, rallying support from local population, and utilizing resources for voluntary youth projects. At the same time, Vietnam Voluntary Resource Information Center must improve its effectiveness in receiving and processing data and resource allocation.

Truong Son Youth Volunteers were a shining symbol of Vietnamese youth. Today, young Vietnamese must keep up the pioneering, creative and voluntary spirit of previous generations in youth volunteer movements to contribute to the success of Doi Moi, international integration, economic development and the defense of Vietnam Socialist Motherland.

Le Quoc Phong, Alternate Member of the Party Central Committee, 1st Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Central Committee, Chairman of the Vietnam Youth Federation

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