70 years since Dien Bien Phu Victory:

Visiting the revolutionary base of Muong Phang, Dien Bien province

WVR - Located over 20 km from the city center of Dien Bien Phu, Muong Phang commune was a critical revolutionary base area, home to the Command of the Dien Bien Phu Campaign.
70 years since Dien Bien Phu victory: The revolutionary base at Muong Phang
Tourists visit the operational bunker of General Vo Nguyen Giap at the Command Headquarters of the Dien Bien Phu Campaign. (Photo: VNA)

It was here that General Vo Nguyen Giap, along with the General Staff, made significant decisions that altered the course of history and led to the "earth-shaking, world-famous" victory of Dien Bien Phu. In the days leading up to the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu Victory, the historic base area of Muong Phang was bustling with visitors.

The Command of the Dien Bien Phu Campaign was situated within the old-growth forests of Muong Phang, Dien Bien Phu City. Here, the nerve center of our army was established for 105 days (from January 31, 1954, to May 15, 1954). This was the third and final command post until the end of the victorious campaign. At this location, General Vo Nguyen Giap issued critical directives and orders that were decisive for the success of the Dien Bien Phu Campaign.

At the heart of the Command of the Campaign were the simple, modest living and working huts of General Vo Nguyen Giap, no different from the other huts in the old-growth forests of Muong Phang. On a simple bamboo table, the General and his staff would spread out maps daily to study the combat situation and determine the decisive strategies that would lead to victory. After several restorations and renovations, the site of the Command of the Dien Bien Phu Campaign has now been upgraded with more durable materials for some huts and bunkers, to reenact the simple, humble life of the Command in the Muong Phang forests.

In Muong Phang, General Vo Nguyen Giap always holds a special place in the hearts of the locals. This land bears deep emotional significance for the people's feelings towards the General. His image remains deeply etched in the collective memory of the people of Muong Phang, serving as an impetus for the ethnic groups to unite and collectively build a more prosperous and comfortable community.

In the house of Mr. Lo Van Anh in Ban Phang 2, Muong Phang commune, a photograph capturing the moment his grandmother Lo Thi Doi took with General Vo Nguyen Giap during his last visit to Dien Bien in 2004 is prominently displayed. Mr. Lo Van Anh shares that on the day the General passed away, Mrs. Doi could only embrace the photograph and weep bitterly. Before she passed away, she also reminded her descendants to always remember the General's contributions, to continuously strive to build a more prosperous and worthy village in line with the expectations and hopes of the General.

These days, 70 years after the Dien Bien Phu Victory, many groups of visitors from afar come to Muong Phang, to the site of the Command of the Dien Bien Phu Campaign. Among them are former Dien Bien soldiers, veterans, and the younger generation. For those visiting the Command of the Dien Bien Phu Campaign site for the first time or those who have visited Dien Bien several times, each holds their personal sentiments and emotions.

Mrs. Nguyen Thi Tuong from Hanoi, the daughter of a martyr who fell in the Dien Bien Phu Campaign, visits Dien Bien annually to pay homage to the war relics of Dien Bien Phu, where her father fought and fell for the peace of the nation and the liberation of the country. Mrs. Nguyen Thi Tuong shares emotionally, "When my father died, I was only three years old, so I never saw his face nor remember anything about him. I only know he sacrificed in the Dien Bien Phu battlefield. Almost every year, I go to Dien Bien, sometimes three or four times a year, just hoping to find his grave among the thousands of unknown martyrs, but I still haven't found it."

For Mr. Lu Me Li, a visitor from Ho Chi Minh City, this is also his third visit to Dien Bien. Each time, he takes time to visit the Command of the Dien Bien Phu Campaign site. He feels deeply moved and admires the spirit of our ancestors, the soldiers of Dien Bien, especially General Vo Nguyen Giap and Chief of Staff Hoang Van Thai, who bore the main responsibility for the Campaign. The simple, rustic campsites, set amidst the old-growth forests under very harsh material conditions, nonetheless, forged the indomitable will of the Vietnamese army and people, leading to the Dien Bien Phu Victory.

70 years since Dien Bien Phu victory: The revolutionary base at Muong Phang
A view of Muong Pang commune, Dien Bien provinve. (Photo: VNA)

According to Mr. Lo Van Hoang, head of the team protecting the Dien Bien Phu Campaign Command site, to accommodate visitors, especially during the peak time of the 70th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu Victory, the team has increased its shifts, including during lunchtime, and has also worked to maintain a clean and beautiful landscape within the site's premises. The team strives to do an excellent job in forest protection and preserving the integrity of the historical relic values.

Seventy years on, Muong Phang today stands as a vibrant red address for tourists visiting Dien Bien. From a revolutionary base area, the village of Muong Phang has become increasingly prosperous and well-ordered, taking on the appearance of a new rural commune. Muong Phang is now home to over 1,200 households with more than 5,600 people from the Hmong, Thai, and Kinh ethnic groups living in over 20 villages and hamlets. Currently, the average per capita income of the commune reaches over 45 million VND per year. The total budget revenue for 2023 is expected to reach nearly 11 billion VND, achieving over 99% of the assigned estimate. As of the end of 2023, the commune of Muong Phang has only 4 impoverished households remaining (13 fewer than in 2022). In 2018, the commune successfully achieved the National Target Program for New Rural Development. The Chairman of the Muong Phang Communal People's Committee, Lo Van Hop, states that following the teachings of General Vo Nguyen Giap, the Party Committee, government, and people of the ethnic groups in Muong Phang continuously strive to enrich and enhance their homeland, improving the living standards of the locals, reducing poverty, and ensuring convenient transportation. To further promote the revolutionary base's traditions, the people of Muong Phang will continue their determined efforts to advance economic development, eliminate poverty, and build a wealthier Muong Phang, as General Vo Nguyen Giap had envisioned.

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