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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thousands help Vietnam mark 20th year of unity

Thousands help Vietnam mark 20th year of unity

S CHOOLKIDS: Dozens of school children patiently wait for the parade to start in

Ho Chi Minh City on April 30. With over half of Vietnam's population under the

age of 20, most of the country has no direct experience of the war which cost

the lives of over 3 million Vietnamese and more than 55,000 Americans.

MARCHING SOLDIERS: Several thousand soldiers took part in parade last

Sunday, including aging veterans and inexperienced-looking conscripts who

marched past Vietnamese Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet and Communist Party leader Do

Muoi, among other dignitaries.

LEGACY OF WAR: Five-year-old Vo Van Quan

suffers the effects of the massive use of the defoliant Agent Orange sprayed

near his home along the Vietnamese-Cambodian border 30kms northwest of Tay Ninh

city. At age three, Quan was taken to Japan for an operation to insert a drip

tube from his brain to his bladder so that pressure could be reduced in his

head. Doctors surmise that Quan's mother picked up the chemical poisioning which

resulted in the birth defect from working in difficult-to-farm fruit orchards

which required large amounts of "contaminated" mulch to produce sufficient

yields. Ironically, Quan has become somewhat of a celebrity in his village and

his mother says he's become spoiled by gifts from well-wishers.

FEMALE

MILITIA: Several members of a women's militia unit take a break after marching

in the parade, which was an invitation-only affair held in the center of Ho Chi

Minh City. The event ended up being somewhat of a media circus as more than 400

journalists from all over the globe converged on the city, which shows few signs

of the war.

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