NDO – A grand requiem in tribute to heroic martyrs, combatants and victims who lost their lives on the battlefield in past wars was held at the historical relics of Am Hon Altar, No. 73 Ong Ich Khiem Street in Hue city on June 17-18 (the 23rd and 24th days of the fifth lunar month).
Co-organised by Hue Monuments Conservation Centre and the Thua Thien-Hue provincial chapter of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, the event aimed to commemorate the 132nd anniversary of the fall of Hue Imperial Citadel and against French colonial rule – Can Vuong (Aid the King) movement (1885-2017). It is also part of activities to mark the 70th anniversary of War Invalids’ and Martyrs’ Day (July 27, 1947-2017).
According to history, on the night of July 4, 1885, the army of Ton That Thuyet, who led the Can Vuong movement, attacked the French troops at Mang Ca barrack. After five hours of fighting, the imperial army lost the fight. Ton That Thuyet had to take King Ham Nghi to run away to continue the resistance. French troops entered the imperial city. In the early morning of the next day, survivors discovered nearly 1,800 dead bodies and buried them in mass graves. The fall of Hue Imperial Citadel was marked on July 5, 1885 (the 23rd day of the fifth lunar month).
In 1894, King Thanh Thai set up the Am Hon Altar on the ground of Than Co camp in Hue An ward (now No. 73 Ong Ich Khiem Street, Thuan Hoa ward, Hue city) as a place of worship for those who died in the incident mentioned above.
After more than a century, Am Hon Altar – the place known as the first Vietnamese martyrs’ monument against invasion has been well preserved by locals in Thuan Hoa ward. They have also regularly maintained rituals in memory of fallen combatants and millions of people massacred in the fall of Hue. From then on, the day became the annual anniversary of Hue residents and the custom has been extended since the fall of the ancient capital to the present day.
At the event, provincial officials, Buddhist dignitaries, monks, nuns and followers in Hue and across the province burned incense and prayed to those who laid down their lives on the battlefields.
The requiem highlighted the nation’s tradition of “Drinking water, remembering its source” and to paying tribute to predecessors’ sacrifices during national construction and defence, as well as praying for world peace.
On the occasion, the provincial chapter of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha presented two tonnes of rice and 1,000 gifts to disadvantaged families in Hue city with a total value of over VND600 million.