On 30 April, Vietnam will celebrate the forty-ninth anniversary of the end of the war and the achievement of national reunification.

The capital Hanoi and the more populous Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) were draped in red flags and Communist Party emblems, while throughout the country thousands of people took part in cultural activities to once again celebrate the momentous event.

A commentary by the state news agency VNA, quoted by Prensa Latina, stressed that “the event put an end to the yoke of imperialism and feudalism in our country, completed the people’s national democratic revolution, unified the nation and opened a new era in Vietnam. The whole country began to march together towards socialism”.

It was also the 70th anniversary of the defeat of the French colonialists at Dien Bien Phu, which led to the Geneva Conference and the division of the country into two zones, with a communist government in the north and a pro-Western government in the south. The war continued for another two decades, ending with the fall of Saigon in 1975 and the reunification of the country.

The Vietnam War had devastating consequences, with the loss of millions of lives, the mass displacement of people, and the poisoning of entire populations through the US military’s widespread criminal use of herbicides such as Agent Orange.

A broad movement of opposition to the war spread both in the United States and in other parts of the world. Protests and demonstrations against the war, along with growing public opposition, influenced US policy and contributed to the withdrawal of US troops in the early 1970s, marking a turning point in the conflict.

Today, following the example of other Eastern nations, Vietnam has significantly improved the living standards of its people. One of its most notable achievements has been a significant poverty reduction. According to the World Bank, Vietnam’s poverty rate fell from 58% in 1993 to 5.8% in 2016. This progress has been the result of effective government policies, investment in infrastructure, and economic development.

There has also been significant progress in education. The literacy rate is high, and access to primary and secondary education has increased considerably. The country has also invested in improving the quality of education and training its workforce.

Health services have improved significantly, reducing infant and maternal mortality and improving control of communicable diseases. Access to health care has increased, although challenges remain in rural and remote areas.

While economic development has had a positive impact on many aspects of life in Vietnam, it has also brought environmental challenges such as air and water pollution, deforestation and land degradation. However, the government and society are committed to addressing these issues.

Today, the Vietnamese people have every reason to celebrate. Experience shows once again that when people live in peace, they can develop. The only enemy is war.