Ceremonies have taken place in Vietnam to mark the 25th anniversary of the ending of the Vietnam war. Vietnamese leaders paid tribute to the three million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians who died during the war. The American Government is not marking the anniversary in any official way. More than 58,000 American troops were also killed in the conflict.
Tens of thousands of veterans, troops and children marked the communist victory over US-backed South Vietnam in a two-hour celebration, which was kept off limits to the general public, in Ho Chi Minh City - known as Saigon during the decade-long war.
Battalions of soldiers carrying rifles marched around the grounds of the former South Vietnamese presidential palace as revolutionary music and folk songs boomed through loudspeakers of trucks that followed – each bearing floats of a Ho Chi Minh, the country's late leader. Looking on were Vietnam's top communist leaders, who stood side-be-side on the palace's driveway.
Meanwhile, the police kept the ordinary Vietnamese away from the palace by barricading all roads a few blocks away. Attendance was by invitation only. Outside, the general populous were left to enjoy the day-off in the sun. The Vietnam government has repeatedly denied it decided to move the military parades off the streets out of fear that anti-communist Vietnamese from overseas would try to disrupt the event.
During the ceremony, officials paid tribute to the three million Vietnamese who died during the war. The city mayor, Vo Viet Thanh is reported to have said that the victory over America represented a triumph of "justice over brutality and of humanity over tyranny".
While the 25th celebrations celebrate Vietnam's victory, international analysts are becoming increasingly worried about the state of the county's economy. Concern has been expressed over the level of crime, smuggling, heroin addiction, prostitution and excessive party control over the economy. Also there are fears that Vietnam is being left behind the technological age and about its future as an unified nation as suspicion of the South Vietnamese still lingers.