As a country that has experienced wars, Vietnam clearly understands the meaning of the word ‘peace’. It is understood not only through ensuring domestic defense, but also understood through Vietnam’s responsibility to ensure peace and security globally. Vietnam has supported global security by sending forces to participate in UN peacekeeping missions, in which Vietnamese women soldiers played an important part.
The leaders of the Vietnam Women’s Union and the Vietnam Women’s Museum gifted flowers and certificates to the people who owned the artefacts.
On the morning of April the 20th 2022, the Vietnam Women’s Museum held a ceremony to receive artefacts and exchange in the theme of “The hearts of peace”. This ceremony celebrated the 47th anniversary of the liberation of the South and the reunification of the country and the 136 years of International Labor Day. This ceremony was held in collaboration with the “Soldiers Heart Club” and the Vietnam Peacekeeping Department”.
The following people attended the event: Ms. Nguyen Thi Minh Huong – the Vice President of Vietnam Women’s Union, Ms. Nguyen Phuong Nga – the President of Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations, Ms. Caitlin Wiesen – the acting UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative in Viet Nam, Colonel Nguyen Ba Hung – the Deputy Director of Vietnam Peacekeeping Department, Ms. Nguyen Minh Hang – the Assistant Minister, Director General of Economic General Department and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Pham Dinh Phong – the Deputy Director of Heritage Department, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Colonel Dang Vuong Hung – Journalist and writer, the Management Board of the Soldier’s Heart Club, the soliders from the Vietnam Peacekeeping Department and the press agencies.
At the ceremony, Ms Nguyen Thi Minh Huong, the Vice President of the Vietnam Women’s Union, stated, “I appreciate the motive of the Vietnam Women’s Museum collecting and preserving memorabilia, stories, pictures, sharing about female peacekeeping soldiers. I hope today’s small event will have a significant impact so that we can look back at the past to live today’s life and join hands to fight and cultivate a united peace for all countries and ethnic groups, especially women and children around the world”.
Emphasizing the role of women in building and maintaining peace, Ms. Caitlin Wiesen, the acting UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative in Viet Nam said, “Participation of women and their leadership have reinforced the role of peacemakers, peacekeepers, peacebuilders within the history, and the female soldiers with their artifacts today presented to the Vietnam Women’s Museum have proved it.”
Touching and authentic stories behind the artifacts
Each artefact presented today has its own story associated with the memory of each Vietnamese female “green beret” solider. These artefacts effect the audience emotionally.
Major Nguyen My Hanh, the assistant to the Area Affairs Department, Vietnam Peacekeeping Department, shared at the event, “I still vividly remember the scene as well as my emotions when I said goodbye to my family at the airport before boarding the flight. Although, at that time, the epidemic was very complicated, so I didn’t know if I could go back to visit my family, so my emotions were difficult to describe. At that moment, I could only look at the family and shed tears. The image of my husband and children watching my departure at the airport without anyone is an image that I will never forget. There is great support from the family behind the success and achievements of every woman soldier in the Vietnam Peacekeeping Department everyone can only see a woman who dares to carry out the task bravely, but did not know that behind the woman’s back is a husband who has supported her very much.”.
Colonel Nguyen Thi Lien gave the Vietnam Women’s Museum a sewing machine brought to Vietnam from the distant Cantal African Republic. During the Covid – 19 pandemic in 2020, Colonel Nguyen Thi Lien used it to sew masks to give out free of charge to all of the staff at the Mission Headquarters. In addition, she gave masks to people in Bangui in the Central African Republic. This story exemplifies the sensitivity of Vietnamese women, as well as their quick and flexible initiative.
Inspiring the young generation
After the ceremony, Lai Thi Diu, a student at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities stated, “I felt appreciated and proud of the contributions of the female soldiers of the Vietnam Peacekeeping Department. I learned something worthwhile from the soldiers. When our country needs us to make sacrifices, we must accept all difficulties and challenges to fulfill our mission. You have also inspired us in the upcoming volunteer activities.”
The artefact receiving and exchanging ceremony, based on the theme “the hearts of Peace”, closed with many memories and emotions for the artefact owners and participating guests. Hopefully, this event will have develop strong encouragement to keep joining hands to fight and cultivate a common peace for all nations and peoples, especially for women and children worldwide.