Stay by the river

Ho Si Binh|11/07/2022 09:22

After decades of separation, I slept in Quang Tri for the first time. I was born and raised by the Thach Han river, and I can't help but getting emotional when I return to this river. When I started university, I went to Hue to study, and that was the time I left and never returned to my old house because it was buried deep under the rubble after the 81-day war. Quang Tri was turned into mountains of bricks and stones by the American bombs, leaving nothing behind.

People call this small town like a girl's hand as the ville marytin. I thought I have lost all my childhood in the past. The vastness and sorrow in her heart are like Ly Bach's verse: Shadow of sails is hidden in the blue sky / The long river is still flowing fast in our eyes. My childhood ship was floating somewhere, looking back only to see the sky of white clouds...

Photo: Nguyen Xuan Tu

During the few nights I stayed at the Citadel Hotel, almost every night I went to the river alone. The road along this river was so beautiful that day; In my mind, it was a road belonging to the poetic world of student life because of the long line of phoenix trees from the bridge to Tinh Hoi pagoda. In the summer, the phoenix trees pour out fire into the blue sky, a color that is young, hot-headed but deeply emotional. On that road, the age when we just growing up enough to follow in the footsteps of a girl picking up phoenix flowers to put it inside her book full of handwritten poems and couldn’t say a thing…

Faced before the desolation and ruin of the old hometown town, filling with regret, disappointment and confusion, a question naturally resounded in my mind: Where should we rebuild Quang Tri from... For many years, Quang Tri has made every effort to develop and build a spiritual town that cherishes the past. The town has been expanded, a new bridge has connected the two sides closer to each other.

Time goes on, the Thach Han stream keeps flowing with a bag full of hardship in life. The story goes that after the war, there was a soldier who mourned for his fallen comrades in the river. Every year, when the important holidays come back, everyone buys all the flowers at Quang Tri market, then make banana rafts, light candles with flowers and float them on the river to remember so many comrades who once fought fearlessly in the white sand and wind of Laos. Their blood and bones have permeated into the sacred souls of rivers and mountains, forever their youth has been sent between thousands of reeds of the Ancient Citadel. That soldier is the author of a poem that has nailed into the memory and hearts of those who have returned to the river, crouched down silently to listen to the story of love from the river: Boating up to Thach Han, please row lightly / The bottom of the river, there my friend lies/ At the age of twenty he becomes a river/ Claps on the banks forever for thousands of years… That image has moved people's hearts like a tragedy with thousands of flowers on the river. It is from this event that after every major holiday, people always hold a lanterns releasing event on the river.

Photo: Nguyen Xuan Tu

Chatting with me, a young friend who is engaged in town management could not hide his excitement when talking about the town on the Thach Han River in a realistic and final perspective that, "with the reality of 50 years after the war, in order to develop, Quang Tri places great emphasis on two areas, mainly culture history and education. The reason is because the town owns a lot of war-specific heritages and relics, which means we must pay attention to the importance of the culture, behavior, attitude and heart from our people to the values ​​of the "property" that we own. Seemingly that I did not understand clearly, the young friend explained: "It is all about building a living cultural space, people know how to enhance the value of history, not only respect the relics but also have a good attitude, humane behavior, love towards the aspiration of the idea of “all for a peaceful city", he added. For example, the restoration and embellishment with Nghia Trung altar at Thach Han, a place to bury derelict bones, especially more than 600 martyrs and Tay Son insurgents in the victory over the Qing army - Spring of the Rooster 17 has lost their lives for the country. Especially this year, Quang Tri will hold the 55th Anniversary of the Liberation of Quang Tri and the 81 Days and Nights of the Ancient Citadel… The government has decided that it is impossible to leave a royal family of Bich Khe village in Trieu Phong specializing in sacrifices and preserving and embellishing to do the ceremony every time, but having to appoint someone to look after everything with a decent salary, Nghia Trung altar in Quang Tri is considered as the first martyr of Nghia Trung in the country...will appear to everyone with a new value bearing the humanity and affection of the people of the Citadel. The movement of local teaching and learning activities over the years has made achievements, which many schools have been awarded certificates of merit by the Ministry of Education, especially many students have won many prizes in provincial and national competitions, the award from Road to the top of Olympia...but more importantly is to educate our children to live with the spirit of humanity and responsibility to the homeland, creating a beautiful image for everyone.

I have one thing in mind, history with vestiges of war when looked back on, living together with the attitude of a peace-loving town reflected in the peaceful life of its people. Quang Tri tourism will also bring a nuance, characteristic in that direction. The young friend is also proud of a beauty that cannot be found anywhere: Not only in important holidays, every month on the 14th day of the lunar calendar, local and cadres nowadays will gather on both sides of the river to drop lanterns as if light a stream of fire on Thach Han River to pay homage with an eternal love for the legendary river.

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Stay by the river