This meaningful deed is seen as a token of gratitude of the young generation living in peacetime to those who sacrificed for the nation’s independence and freedom.

Wartime photos

Team Lee consists of young men living and working in different provinces and cities nationwide having the same ideal for the home country. They, with graphic capabilities, gather in a group and together recover photos faded by time.

In 2022, the group planned to restore 75 photos of fallen troops to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Wounded and Fallen Soldiers’ Day (July 27) but the requests were up to 10,000. All members thought that their work could not stop.

Team Lee’s members and 32 portraits of typical heroes of the historic Dien Bien Phu Campaign at the historic Dien Bien Phu Victory Museum

The fact is that among more than 1 million fallen troops, many do not have an intact photo for their relatives. Many photos are blurred or faded. Many families do not have any photos of their fallen family members. Therefore, the group has do their utmost to restore the photos.

The most challenge for Team Lee is the bad quality of the original photos. Some are black and white, and blurry. Some have half of the face or eyes missing. Some are painted with blood. “We know it is very difficult, but we always encourage each other, if possible, to work harder,” said Le Quyet Thang, the group leader.

In its journey to restore color photos of martyrs, Team Lee has many times been honored to give support to historical relic sites, centers, and museums. The group has recovered the portraits of ten female volunteers who laid down their lives at Dong Loc Junction for the Dong Loc Junction Special National Historical Relic Site in Ha Tinh province; the portraits of 13 martyrs at Truong Bon for Truong Bon National Relic Site in Nghe An province; the portraits of 65 troops of Saigon - Gia Dinh special force for the museum named after the force in Ho Chi Minh City; and the portrait of President Ho Chi Minh in 1946 for the Hanoi-based National Archive Center No.3. Thanks to their work, many domestic and international tourists visiting these places have opportunities to know the faces of the heroes who sacrificed their lives for the country’s independence.

Work comes from feelings

Handing the restored photo of his fallen relative right in the hometown of Nghe An, 71-year-old Nguyen Tien Liem touchingly said that his family was extremely excited when receiving the photo. He highly appreciated the group’s meaningful deed and hoped that it would be multiplied since many families of martyrs have longed for photos of their loved ones like his family.

Team Lee members and the restored photo of a fallen troop in his youth 

The happiness of martyrs’ relatives is a source of motivation for Team Lee to continue their work.

Khuat Van Hoang, aged 21, the youngest member of Team Lee said that he recovers photos at night. Despite tiredness, he keeps working because he considers his work as a mission to repay the predecessors’ credits.

The group’s members are happy with the happiness of heroic Vietnamese mothers holding the portrait of her son who ran away from home to fight the U.S. imperialists, or cry with the families who have only a photo of their fallen relative whose remains have not been found yet.

Team Lee hoped that more young people join the group and more groups like it are established to support martyrs’ families in the coming time.

Currently, some 200,000 sets of remains of martyrs have not been found and some 300,000 martyrs have not been identified in Vietnam.

Team Lee is restoring 38 portraits of war correspondents for the People’s Army Cinema.

Translated by Mai Huong