It was early morning, when the blue sea was full of the sound of waves, and the sun woke up after a gloomy night. The sunshine in Truong Sa, which came earlier than on the mainland, was sparkling in a unique way.
Having stayed on the island for several days, we seemed to forget the date, until hearing the boisterous sound of the military music for waking up. On observing soldiers and officers in their correct uniforms, we found out that it was the first day of the week, and the entire island was going to salute the flag. Hurriedly, we prepared for the important ceremony.
Since I started my schooling, I have participated in such ceremonies countless times. Each occasion gave me a special feeling. Standing in front of the national flag, the pride of the country and the love for the nation grew stronger in my heart than ever.
The flag has been coloured by the blood of preceding generations who sacrificed their lives for the country. Thus, every minute of the ceremony becomes very sacred.
I have bowed down to the national flag on the Lung Cu flagpole (Dong Van district of Ha Giang province), the northernmost point of the country, and also in Xom Mui Ca Mau - the southernmost of the country. However, that day, I was going to salute the flag in Truong Sa archipelago, the country’s Eastern wall. It was an indescribable feeling.
Exactly 6 o’clock, soldiers stood proudly in rows under the flag, in front of the Truong Sa sovereignty marker. Then, soldiers and officials in the island saluted the flag while singing the national anthem at the order of Senior Lieutenant Colonel Pham Van Trung, the political commissar of the island.
Trung then started to read the Viet Nam People Army’s pledge of allegiance. “We, members of the Viet Nam People’s Army, on the honour of the revolutionary soldiers, under the glorious national flag, swear to sacrifice everything for the fatherland of Viet Nam; under the direction of the Viet Nam Communist Party, strive for a peaceful, independent and socialist Viet Nam, contributing to the fight by people in the world for peace, national independence, democracy and socialism.”
The pledge of allegiance was made solemnly, mixing with the sound of the sea wind and strong feelings. After that, Senior Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Hong Quan, Deputy Head of Brigade 146, quoted words made at a meeting marking 33 years since the establishment of Viet Nam’s Naval Force in Truong Sa on May 7, 1988, by State President Le Duc Anh, who was then Minister of Defence: “On the soul of our ancestors and all soldiers and people who laid down their lives for the country, we promise to all people as well as remind younger generations to protect our beloved fatherland and Truong Sa archipelago - part of our sacred territory and waters, at any cost”.
We could not help feeling moved, as we were lucky enough to take part in the ceremony on the country’s island, part of Viet Nam’s sacred sovereignty. Thirty seven years ago, when troops were magnanimously heading to the south to liberate South Viet Nam, under the direction of the military commission of the Party Central Committee, Viet Nam’s Naval Forces eventually freed the islands of Son Ca, Nam Yet, Sinh Ton and Truong Sa Lon. By 9 AM on April 28, 1975, Truong Sa Lon island was liberated and Truong Sa archipelago was completely freed.
The past 37 years were a glorious period for Viet Nam’s Naval Forces, during which the forces completed their task of protecting Truong Sa archipelago, ensuring the national sovereignty and territorial integrity. However, nowadays, the world’s situation has become increasingly complicated. Forces outside the country have reiterated their intention to take over Truong Sa archipelago, in order to monopolise the East Sea. In that context, Viet Nam’s Naval Forces continuously make drastic and flexible countermeasures, while staying vigilant and determined to protect national sea and island sovereignty, despite any sacrifice.
There have been 64 martyrs who have laid down their lives for our beloved Truong Sa. Truong Sa island district was also honoured with the title of Hero of the People's Armed Forces. Since the liberation day, living conditions of people and soldiers in the island have been improved significantly thanks to the attention of the Party, State and people nationwide. The political, socio-economic situation in Truong Sa island has been developed continuously.
Today, standing in front of the national flag in Truong Sa, in the heart of each person who are living, studying and performing their task of protecting the sovereignty of the nation’s sea and islands, there will always live the pride in the red flag and the two sacred words of Viet Nam./.