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The forgotten historical figure

The forgotten historical figure

Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 09:34 GMT+7

The tomb and shrine of military commander Nguyen Van Can (1802-1902), whose contribution to the country is massive, has been neglected for years.

Commander Can is a dominant figure during the French Resistance. He led a division of the local army against the French troops in 1804 along with other considerable contributions.

Several streets in different provinces have been named after him.

However, his tomb and shrine right in his hometown in southern Tien Giang province’s Cai Be district has suffered negligence for years.

Local officials and many locals in My Loi A commune, where his tomb and shrine are located, even have no idea of who the hero is.

Commander Can’s cement tomb, which is plainly white-washed, lies humbly amidst the orchard of Nguyen Van Tam, his great great grandson.

According to Nguyen Van Muoi Mot, another of Commander Can’s great great grandsons, his original tomb, which was made from laterite, was demolished by the 1963 bombing. His current tomb was built from his descendants’ own money. The shrine dedicated to worshipping the hero also lies forlornly beneath the luxuriant foliage.

Mot added that after his aunt, who was responsible for tending to the shrine, passed away, the shrine has been neglected after Nguyen Thi Thiem, Mot’s sister-in-law, took his photo and worships him at her home.

“Every year, Dong Thap province commemorates the death anniversaries of Thien Ho Duong and Army Chief Kieu solemnly, while our great great grandfather, who is their contemporary and made equally significant contributions, has been ignored,” Thiem lamented.

Dr. Nguyen Phuc Nghiep, from the Tien Giang University, affirmed that Commander Can is indeed a prominent historical figure, whose contributions can be compared to those by Thu Khoa Huan (exam topper Huan) and Truong Dinh.

While most other provinces build stately tombs, shrines and monuments and hold big ceremonies to pay tribute to their province’s historical personalities every year, Commander Can remains largely ignored right in his hometown.

Nguyen Ngoc Minh, head of Tien Giang’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, admitted to the negligence and said his department had instructed the Cai Be district People’s Committee to request the provincial government to renovate Commander Can’s tomb and shrine and apply for recognition as a provincial relic.

Minh added that the first revamp to be made for now is to build a granite tomb to replace the current cement one.

Tuoi Tre


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