Difficulties do not discourage soldiers, on the contrary, when faced with it, they show their mettle, optimism and confidence in the future. Participating in the trip to visit Truong Sa island district and DK1 rig in May 2022 of the 9th delegation – Ho Chi Minh City, I had the opportunity to meet and listen to the sharing of many soldiers on duty in the place “the front of the wave, the wind”.
On the island of Boat B, a young man named Le Ton Trang, holding a gun, stood tall in the blazing sun. With a stern face, Trang directed only one gaze towards the ocean. At the foot of Trang, the waves lapped.
Trang is 19 years old this year (from Quang Ngai province), voluntarily applying to perform military service in Truong Sa. Initially, Trang did not try to imagine where she was going, only knowing that she was going for one reason: “It is difficult to know in advance, but I want to contribute to the task of protecting the sacred sea and islands of the Fatherland”.
Trang lost her mother at a young age, growing up Trang could not live with her father. Grandmother is the one who takes care of and teaches the two Trang brothers to be human. “Brothers on the island also live and care for each other, love each other very much, like siblings,” Trang said.
The young soldier also recounted that at first, the most difficult time was still adapting to the weather, especially the hot weather on the island. “Dream and get used to it! We’re used to it. Here, the sun and the wind have to succumb to us!”
Trang continued, her voice firm: “And once I get used to it, I want to stick with the island for a long time. Wanting to stick comes from in my heart, in my heart, like an order. When I stand here, I guard the island – a sacred part of the country’s flesh and blood – I find my sea and islands extremely beautiful. I am very proud and proud of that. Performing tasks here, I have been trained to be independent, not dependent on anyone, I feel like I have grown up.”
Major General Nguyen Hong Son, Director of Military Hospital 175 in the song “Spratly vitality” that he composed (a poem by Doan Vu Vinh), has the sentence: “The sun and the wind burn the skin on the days of thirst for rain / Bitter salt smiles and craves for green vegetables”… depicting the nakedness of the harsh border that the soldiers had to face day and night.
But when the wind and sun made Truong Sa darken his skin, Tran Minh Huy (living in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City) – a soldier performing military service on Sinh Ton Island – considered it a feature and beauty of a navy soldier.
Asked Huy if he wanted to say anything to his family and to his peers, Huy humbly replied: “I want to say that my parents can rest assured and don’t need to worry about me. On the island, I live very well, very well. Today, there is a delegation from Ho Chi Minh City, to be visited by fellow brothers and sisters, I am very happy! I also believe that young people should be firm, ready to stride, ready to perform military service to participate in defending the homeland and preserving the country.”
For soldier Nguyen Thien Vu (20 years old, living in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City) working on Nui Le B island, when he went to military service, in addition to seeing himself as a mature and mature person, Vu also understood what the responsibility of a young soldier was: Defending the Fatherland, protecting the sovereignty of the sea and islands, helping fishermen to follow the sea.
Vu shared: “We live here knowing how to love, help each other, and encourage each other when we are homesick. My family advises to try harder, don’t be sad. I love my parents very much, I miss them very much. I will try to change for my parents.”
Nostalgia is always present for the young soldier. But the soldier’s qualities are strong and highly communal. The support and cohesion of the soldiers is a comfort and encouragement to them to overcome difficulties and challenges. Poet Huu Thinh in “The Great Song of the Sea” (the work that won the Ho Chi Minh Prize for literature and art in 2012) has a passage: “On the sand the island soldiers / Sitting together with many homesickness / The width of the shirt is a few indifference clouds / They just sit like jars to catch the rain“.
Maybe that’s why, when I had the opportunity to really go to the place of “the head of the wave, the wind”, where the nostalgia floats or is hidden in a very private corner of the young soldiers, I have felt more responsibility and gratitude for the selflessness anchored at the beginning of the wave. (to be continued)…