The wife of President Nguyen Van Thieu has attended a memorial mass for assassinated Ngo Dinh Diem, whom her husband helped to overthrow eight years ago.
The wife of President Nguyen Van Thieu has attended a memorial mass for assassinated Ngo Dinh Diem, whom her husband helped to overthrow eight years ago. Dressed in traditional Vietnamese dress, Mrs. Thieu sat in the front row of Saigon's Central Cathedral, listening to a eulogy of the Catholic President who was murdered the day after the coup which deposed him. Later Mrs. Thieu joined several thousand Catholics as they marched to Diem's grave to lay flowers on the modest tombstone.
SYNOPSIS: A memorial service for South Vietnamese dictator Ngo Dinh Diem has been held in Saigon's Central Cathedral. Several hundred people attended the mass with the wife of President Nguyen Van Thieu and Government leader among the most prominent. Dressed in traditional Vietnamese clothes, Mrs. Thieu sat in the first row listening to the eulogy of the Catholic President who was murdered the day after the coup which deposed him.
Ironically Madame Thieu's husband was one of the men involved in the coup. The service followed one held the previous day to pay respect to those who died overthrowing Diem... it was also held in the Catholic Basilica.
After the service, several thousand people, many of them refugees from North Vietnam, joined Madame Thieu and marched to Diem's grave.
Diem's modest tombstone nestles alongside memorials to French soldiers killed in the Indo-China War and South Vietnamese officers mistakenly killed by American artillery during the 1968 TET offensive.
Each year the number of people taking part in the memorial service has been increasing. Political leaders, many of whom were involved in Diem's overthrow have begun attending and the banners and eulogies are starting to depict the dictator as the "Patriot Diem."