Traversing hundreds of miles to reach Big Truong Sa island and seeing the Vietnam flag flying in the wind next to a national sovereignty marker, we all felt stirred. Stepping onto the pier and going through a gate announcing “The Socialist Republic of Vietnam- Truong Sa island”, we entered a yard as large as a city square, where the sovereignty post was set up. The Truong Sa sovereignty post is a four sided tower, on which are the national emblem, the name of the country- the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, an image of the national flag, and the latitude and longitude of the island. An image of bronze drums, symbolizing the solidarity of Vietnamese ethnic groups, runs around the foot of the tower. Colonel Dinh Van Hai stationed on the island said: “Truong Sa Lon – Big Truong Sa island- is a village in the municipality of Truong Sa. The sovereignty post was built with solid materials. The island has another site that also marks national sovereignty- a ceramic national flag which will live forever’
For soldiers stationed on the island, the national flag and the sovereignty post have special meaning. They are timeless testimony of national maritime sovereignty and reflect Vietnam’s strength and position in the international arena and Vietnamese soldiers’ iron will, loyalty and bravery as well as the trust and love of mainland residents for Truong Sa. On each island in the Truong Sa archipelago: Truong Sa Dong, Song Tu Dong, Song Tu Tay, Thuyen Chai, Toc Tan and Tien Nu, there are a national flag and a sovereignty post with the latitude and longitude of the island. There are also 8 lighthouses on these 8 islands, which are also considered sovereignty markers. The sovereignty defenders include soldiers, lighthouse keepers, managers of weather stations, islanders and fishermen who spare no effort to defend the maritime sovereignty of Vietnam in the East Sea.
Truong Sa has in past years received significant assistance from the state and people throughout the country. Many movements dedicated to Truong Sa have been launched to encourage residents and soldiers stationed on the island. The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union built Truong Sa posts in several schools across the country to educate the younger generation about the sacred sovereignty of the nation. In Thot Not 2 School in can Tho, there is a symbol of the sovereignty of Song Tu Tay island. The 2.2 meter high post built on a 3-square-meter area, shows the latitude and the longitude of Song Tu Tay island. Next to it are photos and paintings depicting the lives of soldiers on the island. To help students better understand the island and its inhabitants. Teacher Phan Hoang Hai says: “Since the construction of the post, our students are more interested in learning history. This post is a good teaching tool that inspires students to learn about this interesting subject. “
For every Vietnamese person, Vietnam’s seas and islands are an integral part of the Vietnamese territory and feelings reserved for Truong Sa are sacred. This is true for veteran Tran Van Xuat, a resident of Danang, who spent three years defending Truong Sa Dong island. Those three years are etched in his memory and the memory is materialized in a reproduction of the sovereignty marker in his garden. Xuat says: “I was stationed on Truong Sa Dong from 1984 to 1987. It was a very difficult period. Back on the mainland and now that my life has improved, I often think of my comrades. I will never forget those harsh years on Truong Sa Dong island. I built this post to tell everyone that Hoang Sa and Truong Sa belong to Vietnam. “
Truong Sa is an outpost of the nation where every soldier and every inhabitant symbolizes a terminal sovereignty. Transient or permanent, they are always ready to defend their beloved island.