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Vietnam soldiers skip, sorta, Tet to keep eye on Cambodia border

Vietnam soldiers skip, sorta, Tet to keep eye on Cambodia border

Friday, February 03, 2017, 17:01 GMT+7

At the expense of a deeply-rooted tradition of spending Tet, or the Lunar New Year, with their family, these Vietnamese soldiers upheld their duty of safeguarding peace for their people.

Stories of soldiers performing duties throughout holidays are not uncommon, but for many of these military men stationed near Cambodian borders in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, the Year of the Rooster is their first experience of a Tet away from home.

At the Ia R’Ve border defense post in Dak Lak Province, the holiday atmosphere had been present for a while before Tet, with preparations and decorations for the holiday completed days in advance.

For Vi Van Dong, a new recruit, it was his first time in the military and first Lunar New Year fest on duty at the post.

“Spending Tet away from home, especially at the borderline of your country, is truly an emotional experience,” Dong said. “Though I enjoyed all those New Years spent with my family, it is not every day that you get to spend the holiday alongside comrades at a place like this.”

At the Ea H’Leo border defense post, spaced some ten kilometers away from Ia R’Ve on the Vietnam-Cambodia border, stationed officers and soldiers took turns to stand guard and enjoy holiday activities, to that effect, together.

Junior Lieutenant Dinh Anh, Ea H’Leo’s chief administrative control officer, was patrolling along the border with his soldiers under the scorching sun through bushes of neck-high wild plants.

Having just graduated from military school and still single, the lieutenant said he had volunteered to be on duty during Tet so that other officers who are married could enjoy the holiday with their wives and children.

“Besides, I’m curious about the difference between on-duty and off-duty Tet,” the officer said humorously.

Anh’s border defense post was more brightly embellished than usual during Tet, with every corner of the station being cleaned to welcome a new year.

Some soldiers’ eyes filled with tears on Lunar New Year’s Eve, but the teary moment soon passed thanks to the cozy, homelike atmosphere at the post as their commanding officer shook hands and give New Year wishes to each of the soldiers who sang and danced together to create their own memorable Tet.

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