The mainlanders’ gifts have warmed the hearts of people and soldiers who are safeguarding Vietnam’s islands and waters.
Despite seasickness, smiles graced the faces of the working team of Navy Zone 4 High Command and the more than 100 journalists who arrived at Da Lat (Ladd Reef) in the Truong Sa island district of Khanh Hoa province.
To them, the moment of setting foot on the island was sacred and miraculous. Guests and hosts hugged and shook hands as if they were old friends. Stories were told and songs were sung, reminding people of the approaching Tet and expressing their lovefor the homeland.
Singer Kim Thuy said, “I have dreamed of visiting Truong Sa. Today, my dream came true and I feel very happy and honored. I want to dedicate to the Truong Sa soldiers a song called “My heart and a soldier’s heart.”
The guests brought with them gifts filled with a Tet flavor: dong leaves, sticky rice, and pork for making chung cakes, a Tet specialty, sugar-coated fruits, bamboo shoots, rice vermicelli, potatoes, ornamental trees, and grapefruits.
A T-shirt with the autographs of Vietnamese footballers and head coach Park Han-seo were handed out by the Youth Club for National Islands and Sea.
Bui Hoai Nam, Secretary of Khanh Hoa province’s Youth Union, said, “The gifts reflect the love young people feel for Truong Sa cadres and soldiers. Though inexpensive, gifts like apricot trees or parallel sentences bring Tet atmosphere of the mainland to our remote islands and express our gratitude to the soldiers. Young people always strongly support the soldiers who are protecting the fatherland’s frontiers.”
Thu Nguyet, a primary school pupil in Viet Yen district, Bac Giang province, sent a New Year postcard, on which she drew a naval soldier on duty and wrote: “I love Truong Sa soldiers and promise to study well and be hardworking.”
Lieutenant Pham Minh Duc, commander of Ladd Reef, said, “We are very happy and thankful for the warm sentiments of the mainlanders. Their care has helped us prepare for a happy Tet and remain committed to our duty.”
Le Dinh Hai, Deputy Commander of Brigade 146 of Navy Zone 4 High Command, said the living conditions of cadres and soldiers stationed on Ladd Reef have improved thanks to the care and support of the Ministry of National Defense, sectors, localities, and people all over Vietnam.
Mr. Hai said officers and soldiers encourage each other to endure all hardships and fulfill their duties. He noted, “While celebrating the Lunar Yew Year, we never forget our duty and put combat readiness first. All of us stay vigilant and strengthen our patrols to safeguard Vietnam’s sacred sea, islands, and continental shelf.”