Spirit of America continues a legacy of reconciliation between Vietnam and the United States
The relationship between the US and Vietnam has become increasingly cooperative and comprehensive since diplomatic relations formally began 25 years ago. In recent years, the advancing bilateral relationship has been marked by the signing of several key documents including the 2011 US Vietnam Memorandum of Understanding for Advancing Bilateral Defense Cooperation, the 2013 US-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership, and the 2015 and 2017 Joint Vision Statements. Many experts view Vietnam as the most important bilateral relationship the United States has in the Asia-Pacific region.
US Embassy Hanoi and Spirit of America worked together to facilitate engagement between Vietnamese Vietnam War veterans and American Vietnam War veterans. Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, only American Vietnam War veterans who live in Vietnam full time could attend the event. On June 29, US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink and six American veterans met with Vietnamese veterans who fought to defend Thanh Hoa (Ham Rong) Bridge during the Vietnam War.
The famous bridge spans the Song Ma river near the center of Vietnam’s Thanh Hoa Province and served as a critical line of communication linking North Vietnamese supplies to Viet Cong units fighting in South Vietnam. During the war, the Vietnamese nicknamed the bridge “Ham Rong” (Dragon’s Jaw) as it was the target of hundreds of American air attacks that failed to destroy the bridge until 1972.
Meeting each other after 55 years, war veterans from both sides recalled stories and agreed to head toward a brighter future together. Ambassador Kritenbrink noted that the event aimed to reflect on the history of the two nations, honor the fallen ones, and develop our shared future on the basis of reconciliation.
This event, held on a bridge where fierce battles were waged during the war, highlighted how two former adversaries can become partners and friends. It was supported by Spirit of America in order to reinforce the US/Vietnamese legacy of reconciliation and to celebrate our 25th anniversary of peaceful diplomatic relations. With your support, we can continue to build these relationships and demonstrate America’s commitment to the future of Vietnam.