Memorial service held for US peace activist Merle Evelyn Ratner

The Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) on February 16 held a memorial service in Hanoi for US peace activist Merle Evelyn Ratner, a close friend of Vietnam, who passed away earlier this month.
At the memorial service for US peace activist Merle Evelyn Ratner. (Photo: VNA)
At the memorial service for US peace activist Merle Evelyn Ratner. (Photo: VNA)

The event was connected with many sites in the US, with the participation of representatives from Vietnamese ministries, agencies and organisations, and the activist’s friends.

Ratner was killed by a tow truck in the East Village while crossing the street near her house in Brooklyn on February 5.

Born in 1956 in New York City, she had a special love for Vietnam. She took to the streets to protest against the Vietnam War when she was 13 years old and became famous for hanging anti-war slogans on the Statue of Liberty. She was a co-founder and coordinator of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign (VAORRC) in the New York area.

Ratner actively participated in protests against the US war in Vietnam since the late 1960s, the anti-imperialism movement in the 1970s and 1980s, and anti-racism campaigns in America today.

After 1975, with a deep love for Vietnam, Ratner campaigned for the normalisation of the Vietnam-US relations, and supported Vietnam’s international activities. She visited Vietnam many times, and engaged in joint work with mass organisations, the Vietnam Fatherland Front, and the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics.

Ratner was awarded the "For the Development of Vietnamese Women" insignia in 2010 and the “For Vietnam Agent Orange Victims” insignia in 2013.

In his remarks, VUFO President Phan Anh Son expressed his sadness over the death of the activist, and recalled her activities in support of Vietnam, saying she will be remembered forever by generations of Vietnamese.

He called Ratner a symbol of international solidarity and support for Vietnamese people during movements against the US war in the Southeast Asian nation.

Son said after the war ended, Ratner further supported Vietnamese people in national reconstruction, highlighting her efforts to push for the normalisation of Vietnam-US relations and the removal of the US embargo on the country.

As the VAORRC co-founder, she made tireless efforts to garner support for Vietnamese AO victims to ease their difficulties and seek justice for them, he continued.

Son also stressed Ratner’s support for the VUFO and its member organisations in organising peace, solidarity and friendship activities with left-wing friends and the Communist Party of the US.