Memory of a glorious victory

(VOVworld)-This month, marking the 40th anniversary of the “Hanoi-Dien Bien Phu in the air” victory, VOV reporter Thu Hang jogs the memories of several VOV reporters, broadcasters, singers, composers, and editors who recall with pride their notable contributions to that victory.

During the 12 days and nights of the 1972 campaign that has come to be called “Hanoi-Dien Bien Phu in the air”, the Me Tri transmitting station of Radio the Voice of Vietnam (VOV) was a primary US bombing target. On the morning of December 19, 1972, the US bombed this site but the 60 cadres stationed there were well-prepared to safeguard VOV’s people and equipment. Mr. Duong Xuan Truong, who was the head of VOV’s 9-member self-defense unit, recalls: “We were quite ready. Two people stood guard all the time. I always had a K44 gun with me, and I wasn’t afraid at all. We fired at every American F111 warplane we saw without knowing where it was going to bomb.”

For the twelve days the US military devastated Hanoi with wave after wave of heavy aerial bombing raids, Radio the Voice of Vietnam maintained its role as a reliable source of information for people throughout the country. The rest of the world followed VOV’s broadcast signal as if listening to the heartbeat of Vietnam. While the sky shook with the roar of US warplanes, VOV broadcasters stood always ready to read the news. VOV staffers ran back and forth between the studios in Ba Trieu Street and VOV’s headquarters in Quan Su Street to make sure every development of the battle was quickly and accurately reported. Meritorious Artist Kim Cuc was one of the broadcasters reading the news during those harrowing days: “We were on a war footing in Hanoi. We were on 24-hour standby at 39 Ba Trieu and 58 Quan Su. There were only 7 people to broadcast daily programs normally broadcast by a team of 21. We were well-aware that US warplanes were targeting Radio the Voice of Vietnam and the Vietnam News Agency, the two biggest communication tools in Vietnam at that time.”

Memory of a glorious victory - ảnh 1
Meritorious Artist Kim Cuc

“Attention! Attention! Airplanes are coming!” was an alarm familiar to all Hanoians during those awful days, and thanks to this alarm many people were able to escape death by scrambling into a shelter. VOV’s staff was on constant standby to relay emergency announcements as needed. Meritorious Artist Kim Cuc recalls: “We were ready to go on the air whenever there was a news update. I remember hearing the news that the French embassy had been bombed just as I sat down to eat. I immediately ran out to see what had happened, then suddenly realized I was on standby duty and knew there would be news of a victory, so I rushed back to my office, where I received the victory news from Quan Su. It was my great honor to be the person who read the historic victory news on the air. I was in Ba Trieu Street, but I could feel the bombs landing in Kham Thien Street, which is quite far away.”

During those twelve historic days and nights, VOV’s staff worked tirelessly. Many staffers were sent to the hardest-hit locations to cover the news. Composer Pham Tuyen, who worked in VOV’s art department at that time, says Hanoians were tremendously brave in the face of the fearsome US bombardment and this inspired the song Hanoi-Dien Bien Phu, which Tuyen completed in just one night: “I still remember what Tran Lam, VOV’S General Director at the time, said during a meeting: that the military command was determined to resist the enemy as in the battle of Dien Bien Phu. When I heard the name Dien Bien Phu, I pictured a glorious victory. That evening I wrote the song “Hanoi-Dien Bien Phu in the air.The song was not soft, but strong and resolute to remind people that the Vietnamese people were determined to win.”

Tuyen’s song echoed throughout the city despite the tense situation. People in the south said that Hanoi sang while fighting and the US would be defeated. During those days Hanoi suffered terribly from wave after wave of American bombing. But Hanoi’s resilient army and people ultimately withstood the B-52 attacks to create a resounding ‘Dien Bien Phu in the air" victory, which stands as one of the proudest moments of the Vietnamese people. The historic victory is still fresh in the memories of the VOV reporters, broadcasters, and editors who played such a crucial role in it.