Saigon streets were strangely quiet on Sunday morning (28 January) as eight o'clock approached....the scheduled?
Saigon streets were strangely quiet on Sunday morning (28 January) as eight o'clock approached....the scheduled time for the Vietnam War ceasefire to take effect. At the appointed hour, church and pagoda bells throughout the city rang celebratory peals, and many citizens went to local cometries to pray and light joss sticks in memory of relatives and friends killed in the fighting. Outside Saigon, troops flanking Highway 13 kept a lookout for Vietcong attacks as reports of continued fighting in nearby areas filtered through. Troops and civilians heard President Thieu make a formal radio and television announcement as the ceasefire began.
SYNOPSIS: A strangely quiet Saigon listened in almost disbelief on Sunday morning as the city's cathedral and pagoda bells rang peals to celebrate the start of the official ceasefire in the Vietnam War.
The ceasefire became effective at eight o'clock that morning. Many inhabitants, in contemplative mood, went to local cemeteries to light joss sticks and pray for relatives and friends killed in the fighting. Off-duty United States servicemen were conspicuous in the streets as midday approached and the occasional rumble of distant gunfire could still be heard.
A formal announcement of the ceasefire had been made on radio and television by President Thieu at the precise moment it took effect officially.
There was little let-up however for troops on duty outside the city, where checks were still being made on civilians' identity papers.
Towards Tay Ninh, on Highway 13, soldiers still flanked the important route, keeping watch in case of enemy attack.
Closer to Tay Ninh heavy fighting had been reported during the night. Senior officers believed the Vietcong were attempting to take the town to use as the seat of the Provisional Revolutionary Government after the ceasefire. Reports of fighting continued after the ceasefire had officially taken effect.