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Soldier from Thai Binh who put flag on the roof of Independence Palace

In the war against the US to save the country, Thai Binh was the province with the highest percentage of people in the population joining the army in the North. Many soldiers from Thai Binh made outstanding contributions and witnessed the great events of the nation. One of them is Hero Bui Quang Than - the first person to put the victory flag of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam on the roof of Independence Palace at 11:30 am on April 30, 1975.

In the war against the US to save the country, Thai Binh was the province with the highest percentage of people in the population joining the army in the North. Many soldiers from Thai Binh made outstanding contributions and witnessed the great events of the nation. One of them is Hero Bui Quang Than - the first person to put the victory flag of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam on the roof of Independence Palace at 11:30 am on April 30, 1975.

Hero Bui Quang Than (leftmost) on a return visit to Independence Palace.

We went to Thuy Xuan commune (Thai Thuy) to meet Mrs. Nguyen Thi Dot – the wife of Bui Quang Than – Hero of People's Armed Forces. The memory of her husband with whom she shared many years of her life made her unable to hide her emotions. She said: My husband passed away for 8 years now, but in this house there is always his shadow. She showed us his memorabilia left behind by his family, including the black and white photos that have tarnished over time, photos of his talk with soldiers, a student; pictures of him in real life with friends or peaceful moments with family ... All are pieces of the life of a man who has gone down in history. Mrs. Dot and her children always consider the memorabilia of Colonel Bui Quang Than as treasures, pride, reminding a glorious time that he and his teammates fought valiantly for the independence and freedom of the Fatherland.

Colonel Bui Quang Than was born in 1948 and enlisted in November 1966. He was an elite officer of the first generation of the Tank Brigade of 203. He has experienced many positions: Head of the Vehicle, Deputy Platoon, Platoon Chief, Company Commander, Battalion Commander, Deputy Brigadier General, Brigade Commander, Head of the Tank Armored Tank Corps 2. Participating in the historic Ho Chi Minh Campaign in April 1975, he served as the company commander Team 4, Battalion 1, Tank Armor Brigade in 2nd Corps, the unit directly in charge of conquering the Independence Palace.

In April 2011, we had a chance to attend the traditional talk of Colonel Bui Quang Than with the teachers and students of Dong Thuy Anh High School (Thai Thuy), to hear about the historical April 1975 and the event of puting the flag on the roof of Independence Palace. He said: The most fortunate thing in my life so far is to drag the liberating flag on the roof of the Independence Palace, to be a historical witness to the moment when the South was completely liberated. This story was also told by him in many traditional talks at army units and schools and recorded in many documents written about him.

According to his account: “At 9 am on April 30, 1975, our 4th Company crossed the bridge to enter the city, in front of us was a tank of the 3rd Company, commanded by comrade Le Tien Hung, which was shot by enemy M41 tank. The situation was quite dangerous; my 843 tank jumped to destroy the enemy vehicles and continued to cross the bridge. When I arrived at the Independence Palace, seeing the gate closed, I ordered Gunner 2 Nguyen Van Ky to urge Gunner 1 Thai Ba Minh to aim at the gate of Independence Palace to fire. However, we did not understand why bullets did not explode. After trying twice, I ordered the gun barrel turned back to let the car ram down the palace gate. In 10 minutes, I had to knock 3 times before the left gate opens. At that moment, the 390 tank led by Mr. Vu Dang Toan rushed to knock down the main gate. So both tanks went inside. Inside the palace, I asked Vu Dang Toan to watch out the members of the Republic of Vietnam cabinet and wait for the commander to come and I could carry out my mission to put the victory flag on the roof of the Independence Palace. When I got there, I lowered the army’s flag and hung the Liberation flag. Pulling up my flag, I lowered it again, looking at my watch. I cautiously wrote: 11:30 on April 30 and signed my name “Than” on the corner of the national flag. After finishing pulling the flag, I ran down the stairs. On the second floor, I saw that the liberation flag had appeared in quite a lot of teammates. Down in the yard, I saw that most of the legions participating in Operation Ho Chi Minh were here. Looking out all around, I saw everywhere, on all the mansions and rooftops fluttering the liberating flag waving in the wind. Screams bounced from all sides: "Viet Nam has been united forever!", "Long live the great President Ho Chi Minh!" ...

 

With particularly outstanding achievements in combat and work, Colonel Bui Quang Than was awarded the First and Third Class Liberation Victory Medal; First Class Liberation Medal; Victory Medal of First Class; Glorious Warrior Medal; Medal of Resistance against the US to save the country and many other noble awards. In 2000, Colonel Bui Quang Than retired, went back to live in his homeland. He died in 2012. In 2013, he was conferred the title of Hero of the People's Armed Forces by the Party and State. In the story with us, Mrs. Dot is always proud of her husband: In every working position, under any circumstances, he always upheld the quality of Uncle Ho's army, actively overcoming all difficulties. He was always active, creative, determined to successfully fulfill the assigned tasks, trusted by his superiors, comrades and comrades.

Mr. Ha Minh Thang, Secretary of Thuy Xuan Commune Party Committee, Thai Thuy District

Thuy Xuan is proud to be the hometown of Hero of the People's Armed Forces Bui Quang Than, who has marked the right moment in the country's historic moment. Over the years, we have always focused on educating the patriotic tradition and revolution for cadres, party members and people of all strata, taking that as a motivation to create solidarity to successfully carry out political tasks of the commune. Thuy Xuan has been successful in building it into a new countryside rural commune and is in the process of building a new and advanced rural commune. Despite many difficulties, the communal party committee will continue to promote the heroic homeland tradition, follow Bui Quang Than's example, promote people's agreement, effectively exploit the potential and advantages of the locality to make Thuy Xuan a rich and civilized coastal commune.

Mrs. Nguyen Thi Dot, wife of Hero of the People's Armed Forces Bui Quang Than

Although my husband has gone away, but with me and my children and grandchildren, he is always present and is the pride of the whole family. I would like to express my thanks to the Party, the State and the Military for giving my husband the noble title of Hero of the People's Armed Forces, acknowledging my husband's contribution to the cause of national liberation. It is also a source of encouragement for the descendants to continue promoting the traditions of his father, contributing to the construction of the homeland and increasingly prosperous country.

Ms. Bui Thi Khuyen, Thuy Xuan commune, Thai Thuy district

I am a neighbor of Hero of the People's Armed Forces Bui Quang Than. He is a harmonious, emotional person. During his time away from home as well as when he retired, every time before a new school year starts or in major holidays of the Party, State, Army, he often goes to schools to talk about tradition with students.  As a child, I also heard about the event of April 30, 1975 and it was he who put the victory flag of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam on the roof of the Independence Palace. Although he has gone away, the symbol of the person who put the flag on the roof of the Independence Palace that year remains forever and cannot fade in generations of Thai Binh people and people of the whole country today and tomorrow.

 


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