Memorial service held for US peace activist Merle Evelyn Ratner

(VOVWORLD) - The Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO) held a memorial service in Hanoi on Friday for US peace activist Merle Evelyn Ratner, a close friend of Vietnam, who died earlier this month.

Memorial service held for US peace activist Merle Evelyn Ratner - ảnh 1Participants pay a minute's silence in memory of US peace activist Merle Evelyn Ratner at the memorial service. (Photo: An Dang/VNA) 

The online event was connected with many sites in the US involving representatives from Vietnamese ministries, agencies and organizations, and the activist’s friends.

In his remarks, VUFO President Phan Anh Son called Merle a symbol of international solidarity and support for the Vietnamese people during organized protests against the American war in Vietnam.

Born in 1956 in New York City, Merle took to the streets to protest against the American war when she was 13 years old and became famous for hanging anti-war slogans on the Statue of Liberty. She was arrested for her participation in protests while fighting on behalf of a peaceful, unified Vietnam.

After 1975, Merle campaigned against the US embargo on Vietnam, demanding that the US respect the Paris Agreement. During the 1976-1979 period, Merle and her husband, Professor Ngo Thanh Nhan, promoted the establishment of the Association of Patriotic Overseas Vietnamese in the US and called on the US Government to remove its embargo and normalize relations with Vietnam.

As a co-founder and coordinator of the Vietnam Agent Orange (AO) Relief and Responsibility Campaign in the New York area, Merle made tireless efforts to garner support for Vietnamese AO victims to ease their difficulties and seek justice for them.

She was a force behind the effort to pressure the US Government and chemical companies involved in the American war to clean up the environmental hot spots in Vietnam and to compensate, provide medical and educational services, and create jobs for Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin.

In recognition of the tireless contributions Merle Ratner made to Vietnam, she was presented with the Vietnam Friendship Medal in 2016. Merle was also awarded the insignia “For the Development of Vietnamese Women” in 2010 and the insignia “For Vietnam Agent Orange Victims” in 2013.