In addition to the wise leadership of the Party, President Ho Chi Minh, and General Vo Nguyen Giap, the sacrifices and contributions of Uncle Ho soldiers, youth volunteers, and frontline workers created the historic Dien Bien Phu Victory.

Over the past 70 years, their memories about the ancient Dien Bien Phu battlefield, about the “56 days and nights of hardships and difficulties”, are still intact in the hearts and minds of the people coming out of the war. For them, the Dien Bien Phu Victory has been always a hot story when they meet together to pay respect to their fallen comrades and the fierce battles.

Seven decades on, the stature, significance, and lessons learned from this important historical event are still valid and have become a great source of encouragement for all people during the cause of national construction and defence.

Especially in the memories of Dien Bien soldiers, General Vo Nguyen Giap is always a virtuous and talented general with glorious victories. For many generations of soldiers, General Vo Nguyen Giap was not only an outstandingly talented general on the battlefield but also a great example of sacrifice for the destiny of the country and people and a shining example of virtue and personality.

  The Campaign Command under the direction of General Vo Nguyen Giap is discussing battle plans for each battle. (Photo: VNA)

  General Vo Nguyen Giap meets his men who fought at Dien Bien Phu in 2004. (Photo: VNA)

The example of the first Commander-in-chief of the Vietnamese People's Army in Dien Bien Phu Campaign have been forever shining so that the army staff will study and follow, thereby upholding their willingness to receive and excellently complete all assigned tasks, and thus meet the requirements of the cause of innovating and developing a stronger and more modern army.

Recalling the battles on Him Lam, D1 and E Hills during the Dien Bien Phu Campaign, veteran Nguyen Huu Chap, who was head of the 82nd mortar battery under the 12th Company, the 11th Battalion, the 209th Regiment of the 312th Division, still remembers the spirit of the opening fight of the Campaign.

He said: “To attack the ‘Him Lam iron door’, the officers and soldiers of the 312th Army were thoroughly aware that it was a difficult battle because the French army arranged a 750-member battalion under the 13th Demi-Brigade of the Foreign Legion, one of their most skilled units, to guard it. This was also the opening fight, so the Campaign Command required a win to stimulate the morale of our soldiers throughout the campaign. To show their determination, all Party members wrote letters of determination to volunteer to complete the mission on the night of March 13, not letting the battle prolong into the following days”.

Over the past years, he has always thought about the fierce battles and the places where his comrades fell. He added: “I lost one eye, but my comrades left their youth on this land. Whenever I remember the fighting days, I miss my comrades more…”

Formerly an advisory officer and honoured to serve General Vo Nguyen Giap during Dien Bien Phu Campaign, old soldier Pham Van Sac (over 90, from Hoanh Bo Ward, Ha Long City, Quang Ninh Province) told stories about the glorious fighting days with an intense pride. He was a soldier of the 316th Army (now the 316th Division). Dozens of days and nights digging mountains and trenches with his comrades are unforgettable memories for Sac.

He said: “On the night of January 24, 1954, after a meeting convened by Commander-in-Chief Vo Nguyen Giap at Muong Phang headquarters to discuss a new combat plan from “quick fight, quick win” to “firm fight, firm advance”, my unit was assigned the task of digging trenches. My comrades and I dug trenches and built battlefields every day.”

  A Dien Bien Phu veteran writes his thoughts on his visit to the Dien Bien Phu Victory Museum. (Photo: NDO/Thanh Dat)

Le Cong Binh (1930, from Tho Vuc Commune, Trieu Son District, Thanh Hoa Province), is also one of the living witnesses of the Dien Bien Phu Campaign. He currently lives in Sub-zone 32, Co Noi Commune, Mai Son District, Son La Province.

Despite his old age, when he remembers the heroic years of our army and people during the Dien Bien Phu Campaign, Binh still feels empowered. He recounted that in December 1953, his 83rd Battalion was transferred to the 312th Army. They had to march on foot for 20 days, carrying 120mm mortars, from Tuyen Quang through Yen Bai, Nghia Lo, Bac Yen to serve the Dien Bien Phu Campaign.

With a warm voice and proud eyes, he said: “Those are the heroic memories of the nation. At that time, the soldiers marched to the battlefield with a great spirit sacrifice for the Fatherland. We always had to maintain secrecy while marching. For every three nights we marched, we rested one night. We had 12 people, carrying three parts of the 120mm canon, diligently passing through forests and mountains.”

For former Dien Bien soldier Pham Duc Cu, who is living in Nam Thanh Ward, Dien Bien Phu City, Dien Bien Province, the memory of pulling artillery has followed him throughout his life. During the days of pulling artillery by hands through the forests, rivers, streams, and steep slopes near deep abysses, he and his comrades almost forgot to eat and sleep.

70 years ago, young man Tran Xuan Kinh from Vinh City of Nghe An Province eagerly went to the front to open the way, pull artillery, shoot the enemy’s planes, and dominate the battlefield during the opening battle of the Dien Bien Phu Campaign. Despite his old age, the heroic memories of a glorious time are still imprinted in his heart.

In 1953, on the march from Nghe An to Hat Lot (Son La Province), Tran Xuan Kinh received orders from his superiors to join with 79 other soldiers of the Vietnamese main force selected for training on antiaircraft gun in China. After two months of training, he returned home to participate in the Dien Bien Phu Campaign and his company was stationed in Hong Cum. His 367th anti-aircraft artillery regiment shot down 52 aircrafts and damaged a large number of enemy aircrafts, significantly contributing to the success of the Dien Bien Phu Campaign.

When mentioning Dien Bien Phu, many people always think of the images of indomitable and resilient soldiers fighting on the frontlines. However, the frontline workers, medical forces, and artistic troupes were also very important during the arduous campaign that year.

The silent contributions of the frontline workers who carried wages and ammunition to serve the campaign, the nurses and doctors who took care of wounded soldiers, and the artists who used dances and songs to give the soldiers more enthusiasm and confidence, have also created the glorious Dien Bien Phu Victory.

  A group of frontline workers serving Dien Bien Phu Campaign. (Photo: VNA)

Pham Thi Tin, former nurse of the third Treatment Team, said: “I participated in the Dien Bien Phu Campaign when I was 21. While marching from Phu Tho to Yen Bai, my eyes hurt. The unit allowed me to stay, but I was determined to continue to march. On the way, my other comrades carry some rice for me, while I carried the medical equipment.”

Nguyen Thi Duoc, former nurse of the fourth Treatment Team, always remembers her story with the French prisoners. When the Dien Bien Phu Campaign was successful, Duoc's surgical team received the task of taking over Hong Cum and treating seriously injured prisoners of war. She said the members of the treatment team always reminded each other to be serious, kind, considerate, and tolerant towards the enemies.

She still remembers the morning when they were preparing to go to the airport to return home, the prisoners all turned around, waved and said: “Hello Uncle Ho soldiers! Thank you! Thank you!” Their actions made her very emotional.

It is impossible to recall tens of thousands of stories of former Dien Bien soldiers about the historic years when "the whole country went to the front together" to create the Dien Bien Phu Victory which “resounded throughout the five continents and was world-shaking”.

It can be seen that the most common point in their stories is patriotism and national pride. They are not only living witnesses of history, but also shining symbols of courage, strategic talent, and extraordinary creativity in the arduous and difficult cause of the resistance war to save the country.

  Students offer incense at the A1 Martyrs Cemetery in Dien Bien Phu. (Photo: NDO/Thanh Dat)

At a meaningful and emotional meeting with Dien Bien soldiers, youth volunteers and frontline workers who directly participated in the ancient Dien Bien Phu Campaign, which was held jointly by the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee and Dien Bien Province on April 17, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh affirmed: “We will never forget the examples of heroism, ingenuity, and creativity, who are the embodiment of the patriotic tradition, such as heroes To Vinh Dien, Be Van Dan and Phan Dinh Giot, as well as thousands of soldiers and compatriots who were resilient and brave and not afraid of sacrifice and hardship with the spirit of ‘rather sacrificing everything than losing our country and returning to slavery’ and ‘ready to die for the survival of the nation’.”