VUFO Grants Honorable Insignias to Three American Friends

The American and Vietnamese peoples have a strong bond, evidenced by the frequent collaborations between the United States' Friends of Vietnam and the Vietnam-US Society regarding projects to further strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

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VUFO Vice President and General Secretary Phan Anh Son (L) presents the insignia to Ron Carver, a social activist for peace and a scholar who participated in demonstrations demanding an end to the American war in Vietnam. Source: Ron Carver
VUFO Vice President and General Secretary Phan Anh Son (L) presents the insignia to Ron Carver, a social activist for peace and a scholar who participated in demonstrations demanding an end to the American war in Vietnam. Source: Ron Carver

The “For peace and friendship among nations” insignias, the noblest award of the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO), has been bestowed upon three esteemed individuals from the United States. These awardees are being recognized for their significant contributions in preventing the US war in Vietnam, as well as their efforts in addressing the consequences of the war. Additionally, these remarkable individuals have played a crucial role in fostering reconciliation and promoting people-to-people exchanges between Vietnam and the United States. This news, reported by VNA, highlights the enduring importance of fostering peace and friendship among nations.

The awardees include Ron Carver, a social activist for peace and a scholar who participated in demonstrations demanding an end to the American war in Vietnam; and Ronald Haeberle, a war correspondent and photographer who took more than 60 photos of the bloody massacre in My Lai on March 16, 1968. Haeberle’s photographs helped bring the case to justice and raise awareness among the global public, laying the groundwork for a series of movements against the war.

Another notable individual is Daniel Ellsberg, a political activist, senior expert, and military analyst, who played a crucial role in enlightening people in the US and around the globe about the atrocities of the unjust war.

Unfortunately, he was unable to attend the ceremony due to health issues. However, his daughter, Professor Mary Ellsberg, graciously accepted the insignia on his behalf. A poignant moment was captured in a photo of the insignias, which was delivered to Ellsberg just one day before his passing.

VUFO Vice President and General Secretary Phan Anh Son (L) presents the insignia to Ronald Haeberle, a war correspondent and photographer who took more than 60 photos of the bloody massacre in My Lai on March 16, 1968.
VUFO Vice President and General Secretary Phan Anh Son (L) presents the insignia to Ronald Haeberle, a war correspondent and photographer who took more than 60 photos of the bloody massacre in My Lai on March 16, 1968. Source: Ron Carver

At a ceremony in Washington D.C. on June 16, VUFO Vice President and General Secretary Phan Anh Son presented the insignias to the US friends. He praised their quiet yet impactful and valuable contributions to the Vietnamese people.

After the war, Son noted that himself, along with three other men and many other US citizens, actively engaged in multiple humanitarian projects in Vietnam. Their efforts were aimed at providing effective support to the Vietnamese people living in areas that were heavily affected by the war as well as natural disasters.

Such acts have made significant contributions to enhancing mutual understanding and strengthening the friendship between the two countries, he emphasized.

These close American friends frequently collaborate with the VUFO and the Vietnam-US Society to enhance relations between the two nations and their people.

Carver and Haeberle expressed their gratitude for receiving the insignias. They acknowledged the significance of their involvement in anti-war activities half a century ago and their contributions to post-war recovery in Vietnam. The recipients consider these experiences to be of great importance to them.

These works have been associated with their lives since they were young, and it is a great honor to receive the insignias.

Vietnamese Ambassador to the US, Nguyen Quoc Dung, highlighted the significance of the insignias awarded on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Paris Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam (Paris Peace Accords) (1973-2023) and the 10th anniversary of the Vietnam-US Comprehensive Partnership (2013-2023). These anniversaries make the insignias even more meaningful.

Dung praised the three American friends as unheralded heroes in the US, but venerated by millions of Vietnamese. All three can take pride in their roles in the pivotal moments in the Vietnam-US relationship.

Hannah Nguyen