Young men restore hundreds of photos to pay tribute to martyrs

(VOVWORLD) - To honor Vietnamese heroes and martyrs, six young men recently volunteered their time to recover priceless photos of soldiers who perished on the battlefield. Many families have benefited by getting an additional keepsake to remember their loved one.

Le Quyet Thang, a young man from the central province of Nghe An, came up with the idea of restoring martyrs' photos for free to commemorate and pay tribute to individuals who sacrificed their life for their country.
Thang says he received a message about 4 months ago from a son who wanted to restore a photo of his father, a martyr who died in the war in 1972. Thang accepted without hesitation. The story about the photo spread quickly online, and Thang received many compliments from the online community, as well as many requests for similar help.
Young men restore hundreds of photos to pay tribute to martyrs - ảnh 1Le Quyet Thang (sitting on the far right) and his team hand over a restored photo to the relative of a martyr. (Photo: Infonet)

Thang formed a group of 6 young men called Team Lee. Although all of them have regular jobs, they still find time every day to get together and restore photos. Most of the photos were taken decades ago and are so blurred and faded that restoration requires a lot of time and efforts. Restoring one photo usually takes about 6 hours, but some photos might take several days, Thang said.

"This job can’t be done during the day because we all have to go to work. We can only do this in the evening. The challenge is finding the time. We often end up working late at night. The photos are sent via messenger, or were taken in a hurry. Some are very small or difficult to make out. With many of the photos, we have to learn more about the stories behind them in order to make sense of them," said Thang. 

Young men restore hundreds of photos to pay tribute to martyrs - ảnh 2Lee Team has restored more than 200 photos of martyrs for free. The group is still continuing to carry out this meaningful work. (Photo: infonet)

Initially, the Lee Team's plan was just to restore 75 photos, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Invalids and Martyrs' Day. But requests kept coming in, and the group has now restored more than 200 photos of martyrs, according to Thang.

"We have received about 10,000 messages and were swept away by the stories behind the photos. We forgot our original plan and just kept working. We encouraged each other to keep going because so many people are waiting for us to help them," said Thang. 

To mark National Day (September 2), the group worked together to restore the photos of 10 young female volunteers who were killed by a bomb dropped by the US army at Dong Loc T-junction in the central province of Ha Tinh in 1968. They went there and presented the photos in person to the management of the Dong Loc T-junction relic site.

Phung Quang Trung, a principal member of the group, said that in order to complete these 10 photos, one member had to go to Ha Tinh to request supporting documents and pictures. The photos were very blurry, so Trung and his team had to work hard night after night, endlessly discussing and making suggestions about how to proceed, wanting to make sure the restored photos did justice to the spirit of the martyrs they depicted.

"Our goal was to make the photos as perfect as possible. A photo like this can take just a few hours to restore, but these 10 photos took us much longer. We spent hours discussing the smallest details. We expected perfection," said Trung. 

Helping from the heart, and following a passion. That is the motivation for the team to continue this work, Thang said.

"Watching a family receive a photo and welcome their departed loved one back fills us with pride, gladness, and delight. Many families wrap their photo in a national flag. This inspires us to work harder and do more. We hope to inspire other young people to take constructive action. The families of martyrs are deserving of our gratitude. We should do worthwhile things to repay them while we’re still young,” said Thang. 

The group's plan for next month is to restore the photos of 12 girls who died at Truong Bon in Nghe An province and work on a group photo of the 10 girls who died at Dong Loc T-junction.