Heroism of the Lao people

As they travelled the path to national liberation in 1975, many patriots sacrificed their lives in the fight against foreign aggressors.
The movement spearheaded by the people of Khammuan province was one of many pro-nationalist groups in the provinces, bringing fame and honour to those who paved the way for Laos to achieve its revolutionary goal.
These brave warriors fought shoulder-to-shoulder alongside various national leaders, including President Souphanouvong.
During World War II, new invaders expelled the old imperialists from Laos in 1945. At that time, President Souphanouvong designed a flag to replace the one previously used by the kingdom featuring three elephant heads.

President Souphanouvong (third right) poses with other Lao leaders in a wartime stronghold zone.

The president called on Ms Sisavath Chounlamany, an experienced seamstress, to sew the new flag.
The flag was designed in three colours. Red indicates the blood of the patriots who fought for the country’s liberation, white indicates purity of living, and blue refers to the Buddhist religion. 
After the US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan lost the war and its soldiers returned home. Not long after, the French again invaded Laos, initiating an attack on March 21, 1946.
Around 2am, three air force units, known as ‘Speed Fly’ and using the latest weaponry developed during World War II, aimed missiles into all revolutionary strongholds, backed up by modern armoured vehicles. Faced with the latest in military technology, the revolutionary forces were unable to fight back against this new invasion.    
Then a two-winged airplane flew overhead, dropping leaflets that instructed the soldiers of the revolutionary movement to lay down their arms.
At around 4am, a plane dropped bombs onto the market, schools and hospital in Thakhaek district, killing 3,000 people, including innocent vendors and householders as well as soldiers in various strongholds.
Then the French soldiers forced those who had not already died to pick up the 3,000 dead bodies and throw them into the Mekong. The French used automatic machine guns to shoot anyone found along the river, hoping to contain the revolutionary forces.
They also shot at any movement they saw in the water. In one day, French soldiers killed more than 6,000 people.
The residents of Khammuan province subsequently declared March 21 Resentment Day. Today, this date is referred to as Lao People’s Disability Day when the Lao people recall this brutal and unwarranted attack.
President Souphanouvong escaped from the invaders by crossing the Mekong by boat from Thakhaekkang village.
As he rode in the boat, French planes continued their aerial bombardment of the river and Souphanouvong was injured in the attack. His bodyguards were killed as they protected him from the bullets that rained down.
The bullets punctured the boat and let water in. Fortunately, the craft arrived at an island belonging to Thailand and Souphanouvong escaped with his life. He was taken for treatment in Bangkok.
The river turned red as desperate swimmers were shot in their attempt to reach Thailand on the other side.
Once Souphanouvong’s boat was on Thai territory, the French did not attack it again because they were afraid of creating a misunderstanding with Thailand. But they couldn’t be certain which boat was carrying Souphanouvong and continued to shoot at everyone they saw trying to cross the river.
When the United States set the Indochina War in motion they kicked out the French, thus ending their attempts to recolonise Laos. 

 

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update Febuary 21, 2018)


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