Notably, the people of Dien Bien Phu city of Dien Bien province still cherish the memories of the days when they welcomed troops to the city to prepare for the celebration. Those good memories about the solidarity between troops and people have enhanced their pride in the heroic Vietnam People’s Army.  

Defense Minister Phan Van Giang and Dien Bien people

Seventy years ago, on May 7, 1954, De Castries, Commander of the French troops at Dien Bien Phu, surrendered. To force the French to admit the defeat, the heroic Vietnamese troops had to dig in mountains, sleep in trenches, endure continuous rain, and eat compressed rice for 56 days and nights. With indomitable spirit, the Vietnamese soldiers annihilated and captured over 16,000 enemy troops, smashing the entire Dien Bien Phu entrenched fortification, which was considered an “impregnable fortress.”  Dien Bien Phu is credited as one of the great battles of the people’s warfare. 

To highlight the significance of the victory, the Party and State solemnly organized a cerebration to mark the 70th anniversary of the Victory. The event, featuring a parade and artistic performances, drew the special attention of both the Vietnamese people and international friends. Performances highlighted the great significance and value of the “globe-shaking” victory of the past and its continuation. The celebration aroused the spirit of heroism and patriotism in all Vietnamese people living at home and abroad.

Solidarity between troops and people was the most impressive thing that everyone could feel and see during the celebration as well as during the preparation for the event. Photos of the unity between troops and people published on press and posted on social networks have made people around the world admire them.

Local people joyfully see troops parading through streets in Dien Bien Phu city on May 7, 2004.

In the scorching sun, local residents in Dien Bien Phu city, ethnic minority people from the Northwestern localities, those from low land, and overseas Vietnamese from many countries brought drinks, fruits, and snacks to troops who were training hard in preparation for the celebration. Some people gave fans, conical hats, umbrellas, or even sang to encourage troops and militiamen. After the parade at the celebration, formations of officers from different forces paraded through the streets in the city. The crowds excitedly clapped their hands and waved flags to welcome officers and soldiers. The vibrant and enthusiastic atmosphere made everyone feel proud of the heroic nation. Everyone wanted to take photos with the officers and soldiers.

After the ceremony, the people of Dien Bien were reluctant to say goodbye to the troops who had to come back to their units to resume their regular duties. Local residents brought their locality’s specialties, such as sticky rice, plums, and ban flowers (Bauhinia flowers) as gifts for officers and soldiers. One of the most vibrant photos of the day was the photo of the moment when Defense Minister General Phan Van Giang was surrounded by the crowd. Everyone wanted to shake hands and take photos with the general. The impressive photo of General Phan Van Giang sitting in a car, smiling, and waving to the people was published in many newspapers and widely spread on social media as a beautiful symbol of the close relationship between the military and the people. It also portrayed a peace-loving country and people who are open and friendly.

International newspapers have simultaneously published news about the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu Victory with deep admiration. On May 7th, the U.K.’s Reuters wrote, “The historic Dien Bien Phu battle is considered one of the great battles of the 20th century” and reported that French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu attended the ceremony. Articles on France’s AFP had numerous photos reflecting the enthusiastic participation of the ethnic minority groups from the Northwest region in the ceremony. Media outlets in Laos, Cambodia, Spain, Mexico, and other countries also praised the parade and procession. The Voces Del Periodista (Mexico) Newspaper emphasized, “After 70 years, the echoes of the Dien Bien Phu Victory still resonate like an epic ballad of the 20th century.”

Thanks to the photos of the celebration, friends around the world admired the unity, solidarity, and synergy of the Vietnamese people, their ability to seize opportunities and new prospects, their efforts to overcome difficulties and challenges, and their determination to make the country “stand shoulder to shoulder with the great powers of the five continents” as desired by the great President Ho Chi Minh. Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh believed that with the spirit of Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam would overcome all obstacles and challenges to continue to write victorious epics. The Prime Minister’s speech at the ceremony demonstrated the will and aspiration of the Vietnamese people.

The Dien Bien Phu Victory has become the symbol of Vietnam’s military culture, and the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the victory was a motivation for the whole Party, people, and armed forces to confidently embark on a new era.

The victory and the celebration further proved that it is only through the leadership of the Party that political organizations, social classes, regions, and ethnic groups can be unified, creating tremendous material and spiritual strength for the country to overcome all difficulties and challenges and successfully fulfill all tasks. Only under the leadership of the Party, the Vietnamese military have absolute consensus in everything from targets, ideals to orientation, objectives, and combat contents.

Through the celebration, we deeply understood the value of the experience in maintaining a close relationship with the people. Promoting the virtue that the Vietnam People’s Army is an army of the people and for the people, which will effectively contribute to strengthening the solidarity and building firm people’s heart posture. Through in-depth studies of the historic Dien Bien Phu Victory and resistance war against American imperialists for national salvation of the Vietnamese people, many leading military researchers worldwide have affirmed that thanks to the people's warfare strategy, Vietnam was able to harness its greatest internal strength, combined with international support, to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges.

The reality of wars throughout history, including recent armed conflicts, has shown that the support of the people and the spirit of the soldiers remain decisive factors to success. They are patriotic spirit, readiness to fight and sacrifice, and the desire to dedicate to the homeland. To cultivate such spirit, the People's Army of Vietnam, under the absolute and direct leadership of the Party in all aspects, has been striving wholeheartedly for the people and the country. It is supported and trusted by the people and gradually consolidates the whole people's national defense and the people's warfare posture. The deep and enduring bond between the troops and the people after the 70th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu Victory served as motivation for the entire military to continue to preserve and promote it.

Chairman of the Dien Bien provincial People's Committee Le Thanh Do said that although the celebration was over a month ago, the images of troops with bright eyes and smiles, the resounding applause, and especially the sentiment of troops toward the people, remain fresh in the hearts of the people of Dien Bien province and the entire Northwestern region.

Translated by Tran Hoai