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BẾN HẢI River & HIỀN LƯƠNG Bridge

There are 2 DMZs on the world, one to slide Korea, and another to divide Vietnam. This demilitarized zone or DMZ is the historic and heroic soil where once the 30-year battle took millions lives from each side. Standing on one bank of the river, you could call someone on other bank. It's close enough to swim across, but it's too wide to need a length of 21 years to unify two sides. How many more years does PEACE need to bring technology and happiness to every one?
According to the Geneva Agreement on Vietnam signed in 1954, Ben Hai River on the 17th parallel has been selected as a temporary demarcation line separating the country in two nations: the Republic of Vietnam (South part) and Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North part). Ben Hai River also has another name: Rao Thanh River. The upper reach of the river is on a stretch of 100 kilometers to meet the sea at Cua Tung (Tung River mouth). The widest part of the river is about 200 meters. The portion where the Hien Luong Bridge spans across is about 170 meters. Hien Luong steel bridge was first built by the French military in 1952. Earlier the only means of transport across the river was by boat. The bridge was 184 meters long and 3.28 meters wide, with seven girders. Its surface was paved with wood planks.
This short bridge has not served its purpose as providing peace to both sides of Vietnam. In fact, it prompted the 30-year war with some 50,000 American killed, and millions of Vietnamese from each side have lost their lives. History needs 21 bloody years to lift this 56-foot bridge from its role as "National Border".
Photo taken on June 23, 2004 at North bank of the river looking South by National Route Number 1 (Geographic coordinates: 17th Latitude North & 107th Longitude East).

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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 472 W: 128 N: 2360] (8580)
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