QUANG NGAI, Vietnam (Reuters) – Vietnam marked 50 years since the My Lai massacre on Friday in a memorial ceremony at the site of the killings that was attended by survivors of the massacre, their families, and around 60 U.S. Vietnam War veterans and anti-war activists.
Performers take part during the 50th anniversary of the My Lai massacre in My Lai village, Vietnam March 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kham
American soldiers killed 504 people on March 16, 1968, in Son My, a collection of hamlets between the central Vietnamese coast and a ridge of misty mountains, in an incident known in the West as the My Lai Massacre.
It was the worst recorded U.S. war crime committed in Vietnam but the ceremony at the site, now a memorial to the victims, was relatively low key amid warming ties between Washington and Hanoi.
The ceremony fell just a week after a landmark visit by a U.S. aircraft carrier to the nearby port city of Danang, evidence of warming ties between the former foes.
A delegation of U.S. Vietnam War veterans and anti-war activists met Dung and other Vietnamese officials privately in a small function room after the ceremony.
The veterans and activists said they were preparing to send a letter, on behalf of the United States, apologizing for the massacre.
“In just a short time, more than 600 people have signed it,” said Chuck Searcy, Vice President of Veterans for Peace.
“It expresses the remorse, regret and sorrow of Americans and our shared responsibility for what happened here,” he said.
Reporting by James Pearson; Editing by Paul Tait