The Ball of Peace Connects Generations

At the former border between North and South Vietnam, on the Ben Hai river, we visited a monument to the brutal 81 day war of 1972. Many thousands of young soldiers perished there and it became a pivotal battle in the Vietnam War. Three high school girls, organised by their teacher Ms. Vo Thi Huong Giang (a participant from our Hanoi workshop and a coach for FFAV), gave us a guided tour of the monument. We met a former battalion of ex North Vietnamese Army soldiers there – old men, now in their seventies. They were there to pay respects to their fallen friends. We got talking to them, aided by translation from our high school guides. The former soldiers signed The Ball, some with tears in their eyes. It was a beautiful and emotional moment of generations coming together, in peace. We took a photo together.

The Vietnam War took its toll and has left a lasting impression on the Vietnamese national psyche. Spirit of Football e.V. in Germany is based in the west of former East Germany (GDR) in a reunified Germany. Our partner Football for All Vietnam (FFAV) is based in the north of the former South Vietnam. East Germany and South Vietnam were the losers of their respective ideological and political wars. In Germany capitalism prevailed, in Vietnam communism was the winner. In both places one can still recognise a hangover from the past.

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