More than 200 organization representatives and individuals have visited the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi this week to pay respects to the late U.S. Senator John McCain, according to reports from the official Vietnam News Agency (VNA) and Tin Tuc News.
Among them were top Vietnamese leaders, representatives from the Communist Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations, several ministries, agencies, organizations and the Vietnam-U.S. Society, the local media reported.
McCain, who was tortured and held captive for five and a half years as a prisoner of war in Hanoi during the Vietnam War, died of brain cancer on Saturday at age 81 in Arizona. Memorial events began there on Wednesday, when McCain’s body was taken to the Capitol and will continue Saturday in Washington at the National Cathedral before his burial Sunday at the United States Naval Academy Cemetery, in Annapolis, Maryland.
“Senator John McCain has always been a symbol of the lawmaker– veteran generation of the Vietnam War. “He took a leading role in … healing the wounds of war, and normalizing and promoting a comprehensive Vietnam-U.S. partnership,” Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh wrote on the condolence book at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, according to Vietnamnet.vn.
There were also representatives from many embassies and international organizations in Hanoi, Vietnamese alumni of U.S. colleges and universities, Vietnamese veterans, independent journalists and bloggers, mourners who praised McCain as a “great friend” of Vietnam, a man who had fostered a friendship between two former foes while defending prisoners of conscience and human rights activists in Vietnam.
“Therefore, you have great love from Vietnamese people, from Vietnamese intellectuals,” wrote Professor Tuong Lai, one of Vietnam's best known government critics, wrote in the condolence book, according to local media. He is the former dean of the Institute of Sociology at the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences Institute, and served as an advisor to the Vo Van Kiet, the late prime minister.
Other Vietnamese intellectuals praised McCain as an “honest, courageous and noble person” in the embassy’s condolence book, local media reported.
Vietnamese people also paid tribute to McCain at Hanoi’s Truc Bach Lake, where he was captured in 1967 when Vietnamese forces shot down his U.S. Navy aircraft. “He died in the U.S. but flowers are covering this place,” said one of the hundreds of Facebook tributes from Vietnam to McCain.