An epic photograph that captured a pivotal moment in history. A tank is driven by the North Vietnamese Army as it rolls through the gate of the presidential Independence Palace in Saigon, celebrating the fall of South Vietnam. It was 11:30 am when President Dương Văn Minh, who had just taken over the role two days before, surrendered to NVA Colonel Bùi Tín.
The date was April 30th, 1975, and after 20 years of carnage and devastating war atrocities, the communists won, and the country was seized by North Vietnamese troops. The NVA captured many other buildings and facilities as they entered and took over the city of Saigon.
Soldier Finds Viet Cong Hideout
This eerie photo shows a South Vietnamese soldier in a cemetery, pointing to a Viet Cong hideout place to his fellow comrades. What an ironic setting for an ensuing battle, a cemetery that would just keep getting bigger.
The only thing more terrifying than a cramped cemetery is the idea of Viet Cong guerilla fighters hiding out behind the tombs.
Two Women Get Ready for Battle
It is a well-known fact that Vietnamese women were incredibly brave and courageous during the Vietnam War. There were countless women that volunteered to fight in the army (whether it was for the People's Army in North Vietnam, the Viet Cong, or the anti-communist army from South Vietnam). Photographed below are two young women rice farmers loading up their gun, getting ready to defend their village from the U.S. army.
The village they were defending was called Hoa Lok, located in Thanh Hoa province, in the north of Vietnam. The photo was taken on September 1967, and the two women were later awarded the Feat Order of the third stage for their courage. The Feat Order is an award given by the Government of Vietnam to"exceptionally outstanding feats, brave, wise, creative in excellently fulfilled assigned tasks in combat service."
The Weaponizing of Women
Vietnamese women played a big part in the Vietnam War. Captured on June 19th, 1965, HoThi Que - "Tiger Lady" of the vital Mekong Delta in South Vietnam, watches the 44th Vietnamese Ranger Battalion march into the jungle in pursuit of Red Viet Cong Guerrillas.
It is estimated that over 11,000 women fought in the war, most of whom were volunteers. Even though most of the women in South Vietnam would work as nurses or government clerks, there were many that fought in the trenches and faced the same hellish conditions the men did.
Although the exact number of orphaned children is still unknown, it is reported that over 3,000 children were left orphaned and homeless. This photo is a heartbreaking portrait of one of the worst consequences of war: the repercussions on children. These three young north Vietnamese children are left to fend for themselves in the early 1970s.
It is devastating to see these kids' expressions - confusion, unimaginable sadness, and exhaustion. The worst part was the war wouldn't be over for another five years, and the number of orphaned children would just keep rising.