American veteran Peter Mathews handed over the diary of Vietnamese martyr Cao Van Tuat to his family during a ceremony in Ha Tinh Province, north-central Vietnam on Sunday.
Before the ceremony took place, Mathews and his wife visited Tuat’s relatives and offered incense to the Vietnamese martyr.
The American veteran said he was honored to attend the ceremony and to return Tuat’s diary.
Mathews said he was in Vietnam 56 years ago, and this was his second time in the Southeast Asian country.
The return of the diary to Tuat’s family is his mission and responsibility, he stated.
|American veteran Peter Mathews offers incense to Vietnamese martyr Cao Van Tuat in Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam, March 5, 2023. Photo: Le Minh / Tuoi Tre|
Mathews recalled being impressed by the drawings and poems in the diary, which showed Tuat’s optimism during the resistance war against the U.S..
It took a long time for Mathews to recover and open up to his memories of the war, he said, adding that the diary has a very profound influence and now represents friendship for him.
Mathews fought in the war in Vietnam for nearly a year, from December 17, 1966 to December 13, 1967.
In November 1967, after a fierce four-day battle at the foot of hill 724 in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum, Mathews found the diary in a Vietnamese soldier's backpack.
|Peter Mathews shows the diary of Cao Van Tuat during the ceremony in Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam, March 5, 2023. Photo: Le Minh / Tuoi Tre|
Ha Huy My, Tuat’s nephew, said that his uncle was born into a poor family with a revolutionary tradition in Cao Thang Village, Ky Xuan Commune, Ha Tinh Province.
In 1963, Tuat enlisted in the army and fought on the southern front. In 1972, the family was informed that Tuat had died in battle and left behind no belongings.
“When we heard about the diary, we were really happy and emotional, as it is a sacred object left by my uncle,” My said.
“We will carefully keep the diary to educate our children and grandchildren about his life's ideals and sacrifices.”
|Peter Mathews hands over the diary of Cao Van Tuat to the latter’s family member during the ceremony in Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam, March 5, 2023. Photo: Le Minh / Tuoi Tre|
Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!