More than 10,000 Vietnamese soldiers killed during the war (1955-1975) were laid to rest in the cemetery in Gio Linh District, Quang Tri Province in central Vietnam.
Kritenbrink’s visit to the place to pay respects to the fallen troops on Tuesday afternoon came as part of an official visit to the province, a major theater of war.
He performed traditional Vietnamese rituals including burning incense sticks and striking a bell.
Joining him was Quang Tri’s Vice Chairman Hoang Nam.
U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink (R) and Hoang Nam, Vice Chairman of Quang Tri Province, strike the bell at Truong Son Cemetery of Vietnam War martyrs in Quang Tri, August 27, 2019. Photo courtesy of Quang Tri’s TV channel.
Quang Tri was a center for American military bases and principal battleground during the 1968 Tet Offensive, as well as the location of the demilitarized zone that separated the North and South Vietanm.
Kritenbrink also visited Hien Luong Bridge on the Ben Hai River, once the boundary dividing the country.
The Geneva Agreements signed in 1954, which led to the French colonialists withdrawing from Indochina, including Vietnam, also divided Vietnam at the 17th Parallel. The division lasted 21 years.
The ambassador said the key message of his visit was for the two nations to heal the wounds of war and work together to overcoming its consequences.