In an article about former Party General Secretary Le Kha Phieu posted on the online edition of the People’s Army Newspaper, Senior Colonel Tran Thi Bich Hue, Director of the Military Library reminisced about the former Party chief’s love for books, his great contributions to developing the reading habit in the military and people as well.

Hue stressed that former Party General Secretary Le Kha Phieu was an avid reader; therefore, regardless of his position, he was always interested in storing, preserving, and disseminating books and newspapers to readers, including troops. Phieu was a regular reader of the Military Library even when he was Deputy Director of the General Department of Politics of the Vietnam People’s Army.

In explaining the former General Secretary’s love for books, Hue wrote that ever since he was young, Phieu was keen on reading and studying. Phieu started studying the Han scripts when he was 5 and at the age of 7, he learned the Vietnamese scripts. When he joined the military and later fought on battlefields, he always brought along books.

Former Party General Secretary Le Kha Phieu (first left) reading the first edition of the People's Army Newspaper published on October 10, 1950 at the Viet Bac (Northernmost Vietnam) War Zone

As a leader, Comrade Le Kha Phieu paid due attention to promoting the role of books and newspapers in implementing ideological, Party and political work. In fact, dating back to the resistance war against the U.S. imperialists and his time as the Deputy Political Chief of Tri - Thien Military Region, Phieu always had a special interest in the Military Library.

Hue recalled that on August 15, 1972, on behalf of troops, Deputy Political Chief of Tri - Thien Military Region Le Kha Phieu wrote a letter from the battlefield to the Military Library’s personnel as a token of thanks to the library for sending books to the battlefields. The activity partly and actively contributed to the increased combat power of troops, resulting in great victories.

Former Party General Secretary Le Kha Phieu attends an exhibition to welcome the 4th Vietnam Book Day.

The letter said that together with troops in their stormy counter-attacks on battlefields, the Military Library went to the front by continuously sending books, newspapers, documents of the Party and the military to the theaters, actively contributing to improving the combat power of troops to win big victories. On Tri - Thien theater, books were brought to trenches, commanding positions in Quang Tri city, artillery battlefields in Hue city, tank cabins, beds of wounded and sick soldiers, logistics troops’ trucks, and even in secret tunnels where commando troops and guerrillas were operating. “Your unsung achievements were demonstrated vividly on the battlefields,” the letter read.

The person who wrote that letter must really love books, acknowledge the values of books to troops, be a leader with a far-reaching vision and thoroughly aware of the role of books in Party and political work on battlefields.

Throughout the letter, Phieu wished the Military Library to select and provide more quality books to serve the spiritual and cultural life of troops and to build a politically-strong military.

The Director of the Military Library wrote that as the Director of the General Department of Politics, Comrade Le Kha Phieu always took an interest in military library work even during an era when there was limited investment in culture and spiritual spaces and difficulties in national socio-economic development.

As Party General Secretary, Comrade Le Kha Phieu always asked the Military Library’s staff to build the library into a place preserving and storing knowledge.

Former Party General Secretary Le Kha Phieu used to remind the Military Library of popularizing exemplary roles among troops, glorious accomplishments of ancestors in the resistance war for national salvation, and to make the best use of file documents such as the first issue of the People’s Army Newspaper on October 20, 1950 in Viet Bac War Zone, which includes many articles about the sacrifices of troops in combat and their engagement in the historic Dien Bien Phu Campaign.

Hue also recalled that three years ago, even though the former Party General Secretary was in poor health, he still attended the opening ceremony of a Vietnam Book Day program hosted by the Military Library, during which a reading movement was launched in the military.

On that day, the former Party chief noted, “Books are not for display but must bring knowledge to serve the military building.”

Though he is no more, the former Party chief’s sentiments and care for and advice to the Military Library will be inscribed in the library’s staff so as to achieve all assignments, contributing to the improvement of spiritual and cultural life of troops and people.

Translated by Mai Huong