South Vietnam on the eastern seaboard of the former Indo-China is one of the youngest of the free nations of Asia.
South Vietnam on the eastern seaboard of the former Indo-China is one of the youngest of the free nations of Asia. To eleven million Vietnamese who live in the rice bowl of Asia, October 26 is three times important. On this day last week they celebrated the fourth anniversary of their independence, the third anniversary of the founding of their Republic and the second anniversary of the promulgation of their Constitution.
Vietnamese have paid dearly for their freedom. They have been under foreign domination of one sort or other since second century before Christ. When the French gave back the country to Vietnamese under the Geneva agreement, the country was partitioned, at the 17th parallel. More than half of the country and 15-million people were handed over to the Communist North Vietnam.
In spite of the truce agreement and the presence of the International Control Commission to enforce the truce, South Vietnam is being constantly harassed by Communist bands. In outlaying areas of South Vietnam Communists endanger both life and property. But the celebrations this year were more carefree and crowded in spite of reported Communist intimidation of the people not to take part in national rejoicing.
In Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, people turned out in great numbers to witness the armed strength of their country when three thousand Vietnamese army, airforce and navymen paraded before their President Ngo Dinh Diem (pronounced Ngo Ding Ziem).
Many Friendly nations joined the celebrations. Australia, Britain and the United States took active part. Two R.A.F. Delta wing Vulcans and U.S. F.104 jets joined the national airforce in demonstrations. R.A.F. Far East Commander was represented by Air Commodore C. T. Hannah of the Royal Australian Air Force. British destroyer H.M.S. CHEVIOT was the only foreign ship to make a goodwill visit during the celebrations. Military delegations arrived from Thailand, Korea and Laos.
When the three day celebration were over, the Vietnamese look forward to the future with hope. They are also conscious that as their President pointed out in his national day broadcast, immense sacrifices were still needed to convert a precapitalist society to one superior to Communism.