The exhibition displays more than 400 typical photos, documents, artifacts and consists of four sections:
1. Vietnam - fierce war
Introducing the photos of Vietnam war presented to Vietnam Military History Museum by The Associated Press. These photos captured the intense pictures of the war, many pictures had won the Pulitzer Prize - a prestigious award of the USA. Such as: The picture “Bonze Thich Quang Duc burned himself to protest suppression of the government of Republic of Vietnam (1963)” of Malcolm Browne, “Chief police of Republic of Vietnam - Nguyen Ngoc Loan used a pistol to shot in the head of Nguyen Van Lem, the suspect’s National Liberation Front of South Vietnam on a street of Saigon during Mau Than New Year’s General Offensive (1968)” by reporter Eddie Adams, “Napalm - Kim Phuc (1972)” by reporter Nick Ut, etc. These pictures contributed to reflect the panoramic fierce war in Vietnam, to help the peoples of the world, including the USA people better understand the unjust American war in Vietnam and the heroic resistance of the people of Vietnam to win the war.
2. Mementos returned from the other side
Introducing the photos, artifacts of Vietnamese soldiers which returned by U.S veterans in Vietnam. Especially a Vietnam Party flag returned to Museum by veteran Thomas Smith. Thomas said: “The Vietnamese soldiers not afraid to die and did not seem to think of death ... sorry I do not have any information about this flag holder, but I think he backed home. I became a better person because of him ... he really is my invisible friend “.
The “Pictorial diary” of artist Le Duc Tuan returned after more than 40 years of wandering in the other side of the earth to be returned to its owners through a difficult journey because information about the author too vague. Even when this diary is published by Vietnam Military History Museum in collaboration with Pioneer Newspapers, Youth Publishing House, there are three paintings sheets still left in this set of paintings that have not been returned. At the launch of the book “Diary of paintings by artist Le Duc Tuan - reture from the other side” to be held on September 17th, 2010, United States Ambassador in Vietnam - Mr. Michael Michalak gave additional 3 missing in paintings of Le Duc Tuan diary; the flag of National Liberation Front of South Vietnam returned to General Pham Van Tra – formed Minister of Vietna National Defense by Mr. Patrick Mc Makin, a U.S veteran who was in Vietnam between 1969 and 1970. In a letter to General Pham Van Tra, he wrote: “I am very happy to return it to Vietnam for the Military history Museum because I know it will be public gaze and thereby see the hardships of war ... I hope, someday, I can admire it in the museum “.
In a visit to Vietnam in June, 2012, American Minister of Defense Leo Panetta gave to General Phung Quang Thanh - Minister of Defense some mememtos of martyrs Vu Dinh Doan, including: 1 identification, 1 photo, 1 diary and 2 old banknotes from National Bank Vietnam par value 1 VND and 5 VND
While cleaning up the battlefield, Mr. Ira Robert Frazure - a U.S veterans who took part into Vietnam war has picked up the notebook named Vu Dinh Doan, identification, a photo of two girls and old banknote and kept them during 46 years.
After demobilization, Robert Frazure had brought these mementos to America with a specter of war in Vietnam, Robert Frazure has repeatedly want to return them to Vietnam but not until after the Minister of US national Defense visited Vietnam (June 2012) his will came true.
Especially the diary of martyrs Nguyen Van Nam returned to Vietnam. Mr. Ashton Carter - United States Secretary of Defense handed over it to General Phung Quang Thanh - Minister of Defense on June 1st, 2015 (in a visit to Vietnam from May 31st to June 2nd, 2015).
Many mementos of Vietnamese soldiers returned by US veterans who fought in Vietnam. They were displayed at this exhibition contributes to ease the pain of war. This is also a tribute to heroic martyrs who fought the sacrifice for the Fatherland.
3. Mementos which last forever
Along with the mementos returned from the other side, Vietnam Military History Museum collected many mementos associated with many touching stories about brave fighting spirit, typical feats of arms and extreme sacrifices of our army and people during 21 years of resistance against USA (1954-1975). Typically the Diary of martyr Nguyen Van Thac, Letter of martyr Dang Thuy Tram, Diary of martyr Dinh Huu Hoi, Diary of martyr Nguyen Khac Hau, Diary of Mr. Nguyen Van Hoi, etc. Especially Flags of Hero units and 143 Liberation Victory Medal of the 367 Commando Corps, collection of certificates of titles and valiant badges of soldiers in National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, money of National Liberation Front of South Vietnam and a number of communicating machines used in resistance against USA. These are war mementos last forever, reminding us of a glorious past.
4. Closing the past, looking towards the future
The war had receded, with pacific tradition of the Vietnamese and in the spirit of closing the past, looking towards the future, Vietnam and USA have made significant steps to strengthen relations between the two countries.
In November 2000, during the official visit to Vietnam, the USA president - Bill Clinton said: “We were honored to be with you to write a new chapter in relation between the USA and Vietnam. Actually, the history we left behind was very sad and heavy. We must not forget it. But we could not let it dominate us”.
Vietnam is a friend and a reliable partner, responsible member of the international community, cooperation, equality and mutual benefit, respects for independence and sovereignty and territorial integrity of each other and contributes to the cause of peace, national independence, democracy and social progress in the world.
The exhibition “Memories of War” is the practical activities to celebrate the 41st anniversary of the liberation of the South reunification. The exhibition helps us to propagate and educate the glorious tradition of the people of Vietnam, the good nature of “Uncle Ho's soldiers” on this basis, to encourage and cheer the Vietnam generation who promote the spirit patriotism, strengthen the will and determination to build and firmly protect the Fatherland Socialist Vietnam. In this spirit, on behalf of the Organizing Committee, I hereby declare the opening of the exhibition “Memories of War”./.