Remains of revolutionary leaders interred at National Cemetery
Thousands of people turned out on Saturday to watch a procession taking the remains of the country's first generation of revolutionary leaders from various resting places to the National Cemetery in Vientiane.
|A procession bearing revolutionary leaders' remains heads to the National Cemetery in Vientiane on Saturday, as onlookers pay their respects. -- Photo Khamphanh|
Holding flowers, candles and incense, local residents lined the road from the Kaysone Phomvihane Museum at Km6 to the cemetery at Km24 to show their respect for the leaders who devoted their lives to securing national liberation in 1975.
Traffic jams did not deter hordes of people from coming to pay tribute to the leaders, whose past contributions brought about the freedom and well-being of all Lao people today.
Among the gathering at the cemetery were Party and government leaders as well as relatives of the deceased leaders, police, soldiers, and representatives of various sectors.
Lao President Choummaly Sayasone addressed the gathering, delivering a speech that recalled the good deeds of the leaders for the benefit of the Lao people.
The relocation of the leaders' remains assembles them in one place, reuniting them as comrades in death as in life. The move also makes it easier for the younger generations to pay tribute to these great men and recall their good deeds.
The event also marked the official opening of the National Cemetery and the 57th anniversary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party.
During the ceremony, most participants stood with their heads bowed to mourn the leaders before a religious service took place and a guard of honour from the Lao People's Army carried the leaders' remains to be placed in stupas.
The first generation of departed revolutionary leaders included the late President Kaysone Phomvihane, President Souphanouvong, former President Nouhak Phoumsavanh, former Acting President Phoumy Vongvichit, Mr Phoun Sipaseuth and Mr Sisomphone Lorvanxay.
The later generation of leaders included Mr Saly Vongkhamxao, Mr Maychantan Sengmany, Mr Oudom Khatthiya, Mr Somlath Chanthamath, Mr Osakan Thammatheva, Mr Khambou Sounixay, Mr Sompheth Thipmala and Mr Vaenthong Luangvilay.
Uncle Noi, 63, from Somsavan village in Xaythany district, said most people from his village turned out to pay their respects to the remains of the beloved leaders.
“I was a soldier when we were fighting against the French. I was proud that we had wise leaders who encouraged solidarity and instilled a spirit of patriotism as we joined forces against the powerful colonialist s,” he said. Ms Khone from Don Noun village in the same district said “The sacrifices, great patriotism, honesty and endeavour of our leaders impressed me, and I think that the younger generation can learn from them to ensure our country develops more quickly.”
The relocation of the revolutionary leaders' remains started with a religious ceremony on Friday at the Kaysone Phomvihane Museum, which was led by 120 monks, giving devotees the opportunity to make merit and show their respects. On Saturday morning, an almsgiving ceremony took place at the museum where thousands of people came to make merit for the departed leaders. The event was also attended by 120 monks.
In the afternoon of the same day, the remains were transported and placed in stupas at the National Cemetery.
Construction of the National Cemetery began in 2008 on an area of 52 hectares.
The government has spen t 150 billion kip on the project, with the aim of showing gratitude to the revolutionary leaders and soldiers who devoted their lives to fight for our country.