Independence Palace, also known as Reunification Palace, built on the site of the former Norodom Palace, is a landmark in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Reunification Day/Liberation Day
Reunification Day/Liberation Day marks the capture of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) by Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops in 1975. As this brought about the end of the American War the day is known officially as “Day of Liberating the South for National Reunification” and is a national holiday.
With the end of the American War the process of reunification began, culminating in the rebirth of the nation as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam bringing together Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North) and the Republic of Vietnam (South) under the one banner once again on 2 July, 1976.
From the mid-1800s to World War II French Colonial administrations ruled Vietnam economically, raping it and sharing the spoils only with a small, elite group of Vietnamese businessmen and officials.
Japan invaded successfully during World War II, but after Japan lost that war, the French hoped to resume in Vietnam where they’d left off. Meanwhile, Ho Chi Minh, leader of the Viet Minh, affirmed the sovereignty and independence of Vietnam by declaring elections for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945.
War between the Viet Minh and the French followed culminating in a massive victory for the Vietnamese communist nationalists in 1954 at the battle of Dien Bien Phu. At the conference in Geneva that followed Vietnam was roughly divided in half. In the north the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was established following socialist principles and in the south the Republic of Vietnam was formed following ‘market economy’ principles with very close ties to the US. Corruption was as rife in the south as it had always been under the French.
Local skirmishes were exacerbated by involvement from global powers including China, Russia and the US and a civil war ensued which in turn escalated into what the Vietnamese call The American War and the West calls The Vietnam War.
Sixteen torrid years of conflict came to an end on 30 April, 1975 and the reunification of Vietnam commenced.
In many of Vietnam’s major cities, both foreigners and the Vietnamese people enjoy large celebrations that are dedicated to the success of Vietnam as one country. On the morning of 30 April, large parades are held. These parades are elaborate affairs that consist of many floats, performers, and marching bands.
In addition to its patriotic significance, as this popular holiday is the day before Labor Day, it marks the start of a welcome two day break with both days commemorating socialist ideals.
Because of this extended break, many people take the time to return to their families. Banks and government offices close, but most shops remain open. Tourist sites may be busier than usual, with the patriotic sites such as Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi being very popular.
The flag of Vietnam is flown proudly across the country.