A tragedy occurred on March 21, 1946, in the town of Thakhaek when foreign aggressors brutally killed a large number of people, but this did not weaken the courage and patriotism of the Lao people - instead, it aroused their anger to new heights.
This was the graphic statement made by Party Secretary General Bounnhang Vorachit at a meeting held in Vientiane yesterday to mark the 70th anniversary of National Disability and Sacrifice Day.
President Choummaly Sayasone, Mr Bounnhang and other high-ranking Party and government officials, disabled veterans and civil servants attended the meeting.
Mr Bounnhang recalled the cruel actions of the French when they mercilessly attacked the town of Thakhaek in Khammuan province.
They viciously killed people by knifing them in the stomach or bayoneting them, throwing them into bore wells, packing them alive in bags and throwing them into the Mekong River, putting them into huge mortars and pounding them to death, while spraying others with bullets from automatic guns, and then throwing the dead into the river.
“The Mekong River was filled with blood and bodies, including those of women and children, with the number reaching about 3,000. This was the inhuman way the aggressors treated our people,” Mr Bounnhang said.
He went on to recount the bravery of President Souphanouvong, who led the fight on that day.
Mr Bounnhang said March 21 showed that President Souphanouvong, who was a member of the royal family, and an intelligent and greatly patriotic man who loved his compatriots, had no compunction about fighting shoulder to shoulder with his countrymen in the fight against the enemies, who were equipped with vastly superior weapons.
“That is why our Party and government decided that March 21, 1946, the day that President Souphanouvong led the battle to protect the town of Thakhaek until he himself was injured, should be named National Disability and Sacrifice Day, with President Souphanouvong as the symbol of the day,” Mr Bounnhang said.
He also spoke of the courage of the Lao People's Liberation Army and those who had fought in other battles for national liberation. Their endeavours and heroism in protecting the town of Thakhaek were unforgettable, even though they were defeated on that occasion.
Mr Bounnhang, representing the Party and government, praised the great sacrifices made by the common people. He expressed gratitude to all soldiers, military officers and people of all ethnicities who had been disabled or sacrificed their lives as they attempted to repel the aggressors in the cause of national independence, liberation of the people, and in the mission of national protection and development.