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Vietnamese Look Beyond My Lai Horror

March 17, 1995| Times Wire Services

MY LAI, Vietnam — This country remembered the anniversary of the My Lai massacre Thursday in a surprisingly low-key ceremony for a year that marks the 20th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.

In what appeared to be a new sign of Vietnam's policy of letting the past rest and looking ahead to future warm relations with the United States, the mood of the ceremony was forgiveness, not anger.

Three of the five survivors of the March 16, 1968, massacre, which shocked Americans and added fuel to the bitter divisions over U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, attended the event here on the coastal plain 80 miles south of Da Nang. They put the blame for the massacre, which Vietnam says killed 504 people, on the shoulders of U.S. soldiers and not the American people and government.

"We gather in commemoration of the dead, not to sharpen the pain or to recall hatred of the United States," said Le Phuong Tuan, vice president of the local People's Committee, in the keynote speech. "This is a ceremony for all of mankind."

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