Mourning Headband for Hue: An Account of the Battle for Hue, Vietnam 1968
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Vietnam, January, 1968. As the citizens of Hue are preparing to celebrate Tet, the start of the Lunar New Year, Nha Ca arrives in the city to attend her father’s funeral. Without warning, war erupts all around them, drastically changing or cutting short their lives. After a month of fighting, their beautiful city lies in ruins and thousands of people are dead. Mourning Headband for Hue tells the story of what happened during the fierce North Vietnamese offensive and is an unvarnished and riveting account of war as experienced by ordinary people caught up in the violence.
findings, as well as some of the reports published at the time, to argue that an inevitable bloodbath would ensue in Vietnam if the Communists took over the country.53 In his famous “peace with honor” speech delivered on November 3, 1969, Richard Nixon used Hue as justification for avoiding a sudden withdrawal from Vietnam: “We saw a prelude of what would happen in South Vietnam when the Communists entered the city of Hue last year. During their brief rule there, there was a bloody reign of
burns with impatience; he was so determined to go down here to look for you, aunt. I had to prevent him. The two of us, I and your child, every day were looking for a way to come down here, but it was impossible to do it.” “Have any of my grandchildren been hurt?” My mother stops; her eyes turn pale in expectation. Mr. Minh drinks a mouthful of water: “Not bad. Oh, only Hy, the younger sister of Lễ’s wife, was directly hit by a piece of shell, which entered her leg. But not bad, there are
scornful: “Why do you speak so perversely? I have nothing to do with following Americans. When you go back, ask if that Mr. Hồ Chí Minh of yours dared to talk with me in this tone of voice. I’m not going, did you hear me or not? If you want to invite me to a meeting, you must have a message from Chairman Hồ, not from some Liberation Front of your brazen band – what good is that? Does this brazen band of yours know who I am?” Perhaps the head of the group has real consideration for this stubborn
band. I am against both Americans and Communists.” I wait for a moment and then hear Mr. Minh’s voice continuing: “As for Mrs. Hảo, if there is a way to send word to her husband, do it. Listen, you have to send word to him to come back and bring the glorious rewards we hear about so much.” I hear a woman sobbing, then the voices of several liberators saying their good-byes and the sounds of feet on their way out. Oanh and Trúc crawl down to the shelter first. They get close to my ear:
bare their teeth, laughing inappropriately, in a manner that in no way fits the situation or the scene. The wounded have a place arranged for them, and there are several doctors in the area who are there to dress their wounds. I keep inquiring but learn only that people in this group streamed here from many different localities. They let me know that Tràng Tiền Bridge has been destroyed and An Cựu Bridge has also been destroyed. There are people from the city who managed to escape because they