Named after the country’s first president and designed by military genius Gen. Võ Nguyễn Giáp, the Hồ Chí Minh Trail ran over 20,000km through Việt Nam, Laos and Cambodia. During the American War in Việt Nam, the trail, despite heavy bombardment and even the use of chemical weapons by the Americans, never ceased to function as a crucial lifeline that connected the country’s North and South.
Everyday, supplies and soldiers were sent down the trail. The several-months long journey was perilous, due to American bombers’ constant raids, minefields, electronic fences, tropical diseases and poisonous insects. Soldiers considered it a test of resolve, one to help them get ready for the long fight ahead to win their people’s independence and unite their country.
The soldiers were not alone on the trail. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers took part in building and repairing the trail. Thousands of them never made it back home, and far many more were seriously injured during their years of service. They were the force behind the trail, which was said to be unstoppable and regarded as a symbol of the Vietnamese people indomitable spirit. They were the trail. – VNS