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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Vietnam series at VietnamesePod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Vietnamese holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 12 - Invalids and Martyrs Day.
Every year on July 27, Vietnam celebrates Invalids and Martyrs Day, in Vietnamese ngày Thương Binh - Liệt sĩ. This is an occasion to commemorate those who died defending Vietnam during its wars, or chiến tranh in Vietnamese. In this lesson, we will take a look at how this day is observed.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
When was the first Invalids and Martyrs Day held?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
During the wars, many Vietnamese soldiers sacrificed life and limb for the protection of their country, or in Vietnamese đất nước. In 1946 especially, the number of Vietnamese casualties was higher than during the war against French colonialists. At that time, President Ho Chi Minh signed a decree on policies for invalids and martyrs, or liệt sĩ.
Nowadays, each year on this day, officials at every level of government take part in visiting, cleaning, and decorating graves and burning incense for veterans in cemeteries, or nghĩa trang. During most of Vietnam’s wartime history, there were many soldiers who fell without any personal information known about them, so later monuments to unnamed martyrs were built in various locations to commemorate them.
Vietnamese history has recorded many cases during wars where mothers lost all their children. One well-known case was of a mother who lost all nine of her children when they sacrificed themselves for their country. Those women have the honorary title of bà mẹ Việt nam anh hùng, meaning “Vietnamese heroic mothers,” conferred on them. On Vietnam’s Invalids and Martyrs Day, State officials not only come to visit and give gifts to invalids, but also take time to visit and encourage families of martyrs and heroic Vietnamese mothers.
In order to show its gratitude, the Vietnamese State has also enacted a policy on increasing the grades on university entrance exams for the children of invalids and martyrs. Grades may be increased from 0.5 to 1 on a scale of 10, depending on the specific case.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question!
When was the first Vietnam’s Invalids and Martyrs Day?
On July 27, 1947, the first Invalids Day took place in Thái Nguyên province, with 2,000 participants at the first meeting. In 1955, July 27 was officially declared Vietnam’s Invalids and Martyrs Day.
So listeners, how was this lesson? Did you learn something interesting?
Does your country hold a similar memorial day?
Please leave a comment telling us at VietnamesePod101.com, and we’ll see you next time!