February 2

1946

February 2 fell on Tet, the first New Year for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

In his dairy, the president’s secretary Vu Ky wrote: In the early morning President Ho Chi Minh dictated to me: “Today is the first day of the lunar New Year, the first Tet for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam…” and at the end were some lines of verse that looked like a slogan:

The file photo shows President Ho Chi Minh conducting a symphony orchestra in a performance on the occasion of the 3rd congress of Communist Party of Vietnam in 1960 (Photo: Lam Hong Long)

Trong năm Bính Tuất mới
In the Year of the Dog (according to the zodiac)

Mọi việc đều tiến tới
Every task is being done,

Kiến quốc mau thành công
Rebuilding the country will soon be successful

Kháng chiến mau thắng lợi
The resistance will quickly achieve victory

Việt Nam độc lập muôn năm!
Long live independent Vietnam!

On the occasion of New Year Quốc Gia (Nation), a newspaper published by intellectuals in Ha Noi put out a special issue. The president wrote a poem to congratulate the newspaper:


Tết này mới thật tết dân ta
This New Year is really the Tet of our people

Mấy chữ chào mừng báo Quốc gia
Some words to congratulate the Newspaper Nation

Độc lập đầy vơi ba chén rượu
Glasses of wine are full of independence

Tự do vàng đỏ một rừng hoa
Freedom reddens and yellows forests of flowers

Muôn nhà chào đón Xuân Dân chủ
Everyone welcomes the democratic spring

Cả nước vui chung phúc Cộng Hòa
The whole country enjoys the happiness of becoming a republic

Ta chúc nhau rồi ta nhớ chúc
We congratulate each other and the soldiers

Những người chiến sĩ ở phương xa
Who are fighting far from home.

At a meeting with Ha Noi leaders, the president reminded the local government and organizations to help the poor celebrate Tet.

On the same day he visited, called on various organizations and delivered a New Year speech at the Opera House in downtown Ha Noi.

1960:

Twenty seven years after the Hong Kong case (in 1933), Ho Chi Minh invited lawyer Frank Loseby, who defended him in court and helped him get out of jail in Hong Kong, and his family to visit Vietnam. 

He joined the Loseby family to visit a machinery factory and the School for Children from the South of Vietnam.

On the same day, Nhan Dan newspaper published an article titled “Opinion on the film Vuon Cam (the Orchid of Orange)” by V.K., another of Ho Chi Minh’s pen names. The film featured agricultural reform and collectivization. Praising the artists, the author also called for stringent measures to improve the quality of filmmaking, which was still in a fledgling state at that time.

1965:

February 2 again coincided with Tet in the Year of the Snake. On this day President Ho Chi Minh paid a visit to the northern of Quang Ninh which had recently achieved victory in the first battle against the Americans, bringing down two airplanes and capturing the first American pilot.

He exhorted soldiers and residents in the province to “always be vigilant, ready to fight, and win.”

Appreciating Hon Gai Coal Company for exceeding the 200,000-ton production target it had been set, the president recalled that the French had destroyed many coal mines before withdrawing from the country and had said: “It will take 20-25 years for Vietnam to mine coal.”

“But the French were wrong because [within 10 years] Vietnam has produced two times more than it did in the past,” he said.

By Duong Trung Quoc* and co-writers

*The author is a historian and member of the National Assembly.

Translated by Viet Trung

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