Update: 07:00 | 30/04/2021
(BGO) - Returning from the war, that veteran - wounded soldier has continued to fight and win on the new front - overcoming difficulties to get rich, building a happy family and paying tribute to his comrades.
On the occasion of the April 30 Victory anniversary, Nguyen Van Chi (born in 1944) – a seriously wounded soldier held a family party at his house on Tan An street, Tan An township (Yen Dung district, Bac Giang province) with the presence of six children and six grandchildren. The meal is not just a meeting on the occasion of the holiday but also a chance to remind his descendants to always remember their history, the dedication and sacrifices of the previous generations.
Chi (second from left) and relatives of a comrade go to find his grave at a battlefield in Duc Co district, Gia Lai province (2014).
During his 20-year youth (from 1963 to 1983), Chi fought in the Central Highlands, Upper Laos and Southeast battlefields, participated in the liberation of the South, and came to Cambodia to perform international missions (from 1979 to 1983). On his return, the soldier's body was covered with countless wounds. It took him three consecutive years to stay in the hospital for his wounds to ease.
He continued treatment at the Center for War Invalids in Thuan Thanh district (Bac Ninh province) until 1990 and returned home. The three children, each standing at a corner, did not dare to come close to him because they saw their father too different, with a strange face, crutches and a prosthetic leg. Although he was the heaviest wounded soldier (with his working ability reducing more than 81 percent), he said optimistically: "Thinking of many of my comrades who had died, I felt too lucky and happy when still keeping my life”.
He said: "When I got home, the economy was very difficult at that time, my wife – a secondary school teacher named Nguyen Thi Hien had to apply for early retirement to have time to take care of me and work for the family economy. With more than 200sq.m of land granted by the State, my couple built a house on a small part and the rest was for breeding and gardening. We also asked for a few ‘sao’ (each sao equivalent to 360sq.m) of paddy fields to grow rice and other crops".
Later, when Tan An street became more crowded, they opened a shop at home. Working hard and practicing thrift, their economy got better and better, enabling them afford the study of the three children, who now have stable jobs.
When asked about his feelings after the liberation of the South and the reunification of the country on April 30, he said: "We missed our comrades, those who had died, and the homeland. After the liberation of the South, I and many of my comrades just hoped to return to the homeland as soon as possible to live with our wives, children and relatives".
Chi and his wife.
And he returned to his hometown of Long Tri (Tan An) - where Uncle Ho used to visit with his luggage including a backpack, a bicycle frame and a doll as gift for his daughter. He said: "In July 1975, on the bus from Hang Co station (Hanoi) to Nua station (at the foot of Long Bien Bridge) to return to Ha Bac province (now Bac Giang province), I wore a military uniform and tightly hugged the backpack in front of my chest. The driver assistant reminded me several times to put it in the bus’s storage area but I pleaded: “My backpack has no money but only more than a hundred letters from my comrades who asked me to bring them to their families. Some of them then died. Therefore, I can lose everything but not this backpack. I hope to receive your sympathy." Then, even though his leg was amputated and his arms were no longer normal, he still spent time cycling hundreds of kilometers bringing the letters to the families of his comrades.
With the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (Combat Assistant at the High Command 479), Chi is entitled to salary and the State's policies, so he has conditions to share with and pay tribute to his comrades. He has actively acted as a witness for many of his comrades who unfortunately lost their papers to apply for the State policies. About a decade ago, when his health was still good enough to travel a long distance, he went with his comrades’ relatives to find their remains in the Central Highlands battlefields.