Đặng Thùy Trâm's Diary

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Đặng Thùy Trâm's Diary 03.02.2008 23:02:25 (permalink)
" The most valuable property of a person is the life . In a life , people can just live once , so we have to live meaningfully so as not to feel deep regret of the time  we used to live uselessly , not to feel ashamed of the time we used to live uselessly . Till the time we leave this world , we can proudly say that :" in our whole life , our whole soul has devoted to the most beautiful cause in the world : the cause of strugg for the human liberation ."

" Life has to suffer from the storm , but never lower our heads before the storm"

       That was what Thuy Tram wrote at the first page , have you ever written something like that in your own diary ? I think her line is like the cliche but it itself was the motivation that helped our heroine to overcome difficulties of war .Quoting these lines , I do not want to tell you how I feel about Tram's soul , I just want to show and let yourself feel . However , she was an optimistic woman who had a sensitive heart but very consistent mind in the work . Above all , it was a vindictive hatred for the aggressors and traitors .
      I think I have to tell you briefly about Thuy Tram 's biography before you read the lines below: Tram was the elder sister in a family of 3 daughters . Her parents are both doctors so they were the intelligentsias. Thuy Tram was a Hanoiance but after graduating the medical university at the age of 22 , she went of her own record to work as a doctor in a far far away land called Duc Pho , Quang Tri . It was one of the most violent battles during the war .
        Here are some dates in her diary :

" 22.4.68
         Huong! Was Huong dead ? I was stunned by the thunder-like news as if I were in the nightmare . When will this anguish end ? Now a person lays down , tomorrow , one more is going to lay down . Bone and blood piled in heaps like a mountain of disgust against our eyes . When! When and when my dear fellows ? When can we drive the bloodthirsty predators from our country ?
          Now it ends, many nights confiding together in a whisper will not exist any more . The deep and sentimental  voice of Huong is now very clear in my ears . She praises and encourages me , extolling my faithful love . Now it ends , many times swimming together in the stream and together sharing a cup of sweetened porridge. I remember the day meeting Huong near the spring in Nghia Hanh , Huong huged me tighly in her arms , kissing my hair ,  my cheek and both of us had tears welling up.
          Looking at uncle Cong , who is still placid and has not known about that thunder-like news , I feel tormented as if someone salted my trauma . Loosing a daughter is much more painful than loosing one's  gut . Uncle ,please repress your tears if you know this news ! And Quang , the faithful man waiting for Huong for many years , will never achieve his dream . Your Huong will forever lie at rest in your native soil . "
          The war is still going on , the death is still happening every day , every hour , every minute ,as easy as anything . Yesterday night , Thin and brother Son  were talking to me . Thin advised Le to buy material to make clothes , this night , they are just 2 bodies lying in the land of Duc Pho , where they had set foot in for the first time. Too easy to die , there is no way to beware of that loss. How sad !
           What Lien said is quite right : Behave toward people with the honest love so that we will not regret when our friend died that when he was still alive , we had not love , protect and help mutually . I myself did as she said. For a long time am I soulful with all of my friends , a generous  but very heartfelt affection . All of the patients in this hospital , in seriously ailing time , are treated by my sense of  responsibility , my intimate compassion . Even when they feel so strange , they will later have a strong attachment for me as a close doctor . They call me "Second Sister " , they call themselves my younger brother although they are older than me , they played with me and coddle themselves with me as well . Among these formidable days , I have found the happiness and consolation from them .
" 4.6.68
         The rain is still pouring down ceaselessly. The rain makes melancholy penetrate into the hearts of people. And the cold rain makes me extremely crave for the scene of gathering with family . I wish I had wings to fly back to my tiny house in Lo Duc street , to have a meal of vegetable with parents and sisters , and to lie curl up in the cosy quilted blanket and fell sound asleep. Yesterday , I dreamt about the restoration of peace , I came back to meet my relatives.Alas ! The dream of peace has been restless in the mind of 30 million of our compatriots for such a long time .For that peace and independence, we have sacrificed everything . Millions of people were willing to devote their whole lives to these 2words : independence and liberty . So was I , I also sacrifice my own life for that great cause ." 

" 8.10.68
         The sparkling sunshine at the beginning of  this autumn is inundating the whole forest . This sunshine of the beginning of this autumn along with the wind has my heart wrung with pain . Remember again , the very immense and deep remembrance is like the ocean bed embracing VietNam strip of land . I miss the gentle and private friend living in a small house at the end of Doi Can street,  miss the naughty girl with soft hair , miss a southerner brother who has sent me a letter to say good bye before setting off to study , miss another dear brother who has glistening eyes under long eyelash and miss so much a beloved person forever resting in peace on the coast of hometown.
        My country! When will this remembrance suside , when will this country be in peace ? I know that the victorious day won't be so far but why do I feel that happiness is still mighty distant . I don't know whether I can see that happy day . "Communists love their lives so much , but if necessary , they can also quietly die. " Die but still love the life , the life for which people have to pay a heavy price during 30 years : perspiration , tears , bone and blood."
<bài viết được chỉnh sửa lúc 04.02.2008 14:35:41 bởi marcel >

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    RE: Đặng Thùy Trâm's Diary 08.02.2008 23:27:25 (permalink)
    " 1.11.68
                How strange ! In the sombre forest where the rain pours down continually , before my eyes was clearly a brilliant flower garden in the beautiful sunset of spring . Bunches of rose , gladiolous , peach blossom are blooming fully of flowers . A beloved friend and I walk together . That peaceful scenery is so far away , Thuy! When can the South enjoy that splendid season of flower ? Here , lethal weapons are still the heavy burden on people's lives . Yesterday , a 21-year - old boy who was scarred with wounds called my name just in hope of being cured , but I had to shed tears , looking him die on my powerless couple of hands . So , Th , in this South , flowers of victory , flowers of heros are always blooming  but those flowers have to be grown by bone and blood , by the whole youthful lives of many people . Thuy is walking in the South , in that flower garden, feeling great admiration and pride , but also the great anguish when looking those flowers falling . In the previous time , Th loves flowers , now Th still loves them but Th more and more understands the beauty of FLOWER - and that love for flowers has developed so much the sense of love , disgust and pride of a Vietnamese . "
    " 3.11.68
                 The North has gained peace and independence . The unjust sound of falling bomb has been dumb in my dear North . The North! The happiness is radiant on 16 million faces but those smiles still remain a misery because of the South , the South is still heart-rending with fire and sword , the South is still full of growl  of the devil incarnate . My parents and my dear people outthere are happy today but can't stop feeling touched when thinking of the South and me . So cheer up , even though it is not an intergral happiness . "
    " 25.11.68
                  There are heaps of work to do , I have had a headache and feel tired . I just want to come back quietly to the desolation of love . But wish is just a wish , reality is reality : the heart-rending moan and cry of patients is always in my ears , the stressful work is coming before my eyes with its various look : complicated , difficult and testy as well . "
    " 26.11.68
                   A birthday in the sound of guns boomed in sucessive salvoes on all sides. The aggressors stage raids. I also get acquainted with the sceneries of carrying the backpack on shoulders , leading wounded soldiers to run away . No problem , 2 years familiar with fire and bullet of war .
                    Now , the forest is specially quiet . The shot has stopped , people keep quietly to monitor the situation . I myself suddenly am eager to remember the tranquil time in the North - it is also the sunshine of winter but it is so warm because of the full joy , parents bought flowers to give me , celebrated a party , friends came and congratulated... Now , my dream is different from it was before , if it comes true , let's privilege for people facing dangers for 23 years , young people who grew and just knew the anguish , hatred and sacrifice . And let's privilege for my beloved people in this Southern land . Mom and dad! Get ready with your whole sense of mercy  to greet me and your Southern sons coming back . My brothers will deserve your affection . "
    " 18.12.68
                     Can't be like what Mui said . Our way we are walking on is the way of friendship , it can't be the warm and bright way of love . So , before , now , and forever , I just consider Mui as a friend : understand , believe and fondness . That's enough , Mui . We needn't and can't develop our relationship.
                     Tonight , I'm on duty . The dim light in the small house , the moan of patient make me feel so sad . The remembrance with love overflows in me is stronger than ever . My intimate people! Does anyone penetrate my mind ? "
    " 23.12.68
                      Memory 2 years since I had set food in this land . 3 o'clock , this time 2 years ago , the car was carrying me into another way . A mighty arduous way that Th knew before stepping on .
                      However , today , after 2 real years , Th still feels unhappy when looking back to the obstacles on that way . Don't be sad , that is life . There are aromatic flowers and brilliant sunset but there are also black clouds making the sky turbid. In a year , there are both sunny and rainy days .This afternoon , Th knew how to restrain the testiness to hold the notebook , smiling and teaching students . This night , Th knew how to calmly smile before the reaction of a person who was harmed his interest . So  now , next to the lamp and the tiny notebook , why does Th have tears welling up? Don't cry , Th !Be calm and steady because you are a right person . If you cry , clutch one intimate person's hands to confide . As for the obstacle of life , the challenge and the danger ,hope that Th will keep the smile that Th usually do . Even when inside it are plenty of tears . Tears should be saved for my own dear people . Do you understand , Th? "
    " 9.1.69
                      Bon is 21 years old this year . He has suffered 7 times of injury when fighting in battle . That young scout and also platoon leader gave me unforgetable impression and feeling .
                       I met Bon for the first time when he had to go to hospital with a small injury in foot . A few days later , when the wound hadn't completely healed , Bon came out of hospital . And more than one month later , I greeted  Bon again in hospital . The wound in articulation made him loose so much blood that he was pale and exhausted.
    But right after the surgery , when he came round , the naughty smile appeared again on his pallid lips . It was such a hurt trauma , but Bon didn't lament , he was just worried about one thing : Can he fight any more ? Everytime , I visited him , I quietly fondled the young wounded soldier's hair and told Bon : Feel secure , surely you will be able to hold the gun and fight stably .
                      Once , I met Bon when he was operating , carrying the AK rifle on the shoulders . Taking notice of me from a distance , he jubilated , acclaiming :" Hello doctor , I want to report you that my arm is okay again ." And he gesticulated to show off with me that his articulation has worked normally . I put on my best smile when seeing his ruddy skin and the naughty smile of that liberation soldier .
                       Today , Bon has to come to hospital , with the very pale skin . He lay motionless and didn't moan . A leg was cut by the mine , his clothes were imbrued with blood . With the sense of responsibility and mercy , my fellows and I made our arduous effort . After amputating a leg , Bon smiled and said: " Now I can live with 80%"
                        But I myself still feel anxious because Bon lost too much blood . His pulse is still very fast 140-150 but there are much hope.
                       Finally , Bon couldn't recover . There was so much blood oozed from the wound that he didn't  have enough energy . Bon! Our hometown land was saturated with your blood . Your blood flew on your way of fighting . Your heart stopped thumping so that our country's heart will forever thump .
                        Bon died . His eyes shut tightly as if he were falling into a sleep . Sitting next to Bon , I gently fondled his hair . I thought that he was still alive and my tears was dripping onto his hair . No! Bon hasn't died , Bon will still alive in my mind and the fellows who are fighting with him together in this life- and - death struggle.
                        The misery has come again and my vindictive hatred for the aggressors is now thousand , million times heavier. Looking at Bon , I stunned when thinking of my dear brothers  who are wrestling day and night with the enemy , rushing into danger of the war . On these days , adversaries are attacking Pho Cuong very violently . Thuan has escaped death by an inch for some times ... Alas! When those bloodthirsty enemy still exists , we still have to suffer great misery . There is no better way than beating those rascal's  heads soundly. "

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      RE: Đặng Thùy Trâm's Diary 11.02.2008 02:05:50 (permalink)
                   A beautiful afternoon sun on Sunday . The wind is rising in the old forest . The radio station is broadcasting the international music program . Sitting in a small room , I feel that this scenery is so peaceful . Suddenly , I forget all about the bomb , bullet , fire and sword , all about death and grief . Within my soul , there is only boundless inspiration with the piece of music .
                   I don't know if it is blamable or laudable . It is blamable because I forget the continuous pangs of my nation , the crime of bloodthirsty predator who keeps trampling upon my native soil . However , it is laudable because from myriads of hardship , I am still throbing with emotion in the optimistic hope of vitality . It is the fresh hope within my soul .
                   Dear Phuong ,in the North ,  do you usually feel painful when looking at the parting scenery in every Vietnamese house ? Here , I feel a hundred thousands times clearer about that sad situation . But I still hope that both you and I will not loose the joy and dream in our hearts . Be as we used to be before , my dear sister! And on Sunday afternoon , we will listen to the international music program together , and we will always write down on our diaries . Life is still dreamlike even when bombs are continuously falling around us ."
                 One more fellow has lain down . He had a wound through the belly . After the surgery , his condition is not good but worse . May be because of the internal bleeding , when the  unfound shell fragment cut the blood vessel . Holding a consultation , all of people don't agree with operating again . But I myself hesitated .Finally , he died -his death made me think a lot . Why did he die ? Because of my demur ? May be . If I were determined , at least in 100% hope of existence , he could have had 10% . I followed the tail of the mass , skipping a should-be-done work .
                 He died . In his *** pocket is a small notebook that contains some pictures of a girl with charming smile , and a letter telling about her faithful expectation . There is also a handkerchief embroidered with a line :" WAITING FOR YOU " . Alas ! The girl in the rear ! Your lover will never come back . Your mourning head-band you will have to wear on your young hair is the result of the crime of killers - The American imperialism . And my regret , I'm a doctor who didn't rescue him when I was able to do ! "
                  Yesterday , we attacked the enemy in Duc Pho . The whole area  was burnt in our army's vindictive hatred fire . One of the martyrs was Luc - a wounded soldier who had recovered and continued fighting . Luc died on the first belligerent days after convalescing . In my eyes now is clearly the picture of a boy with intelligent eyes and a consistent countenance . Luc usually carried red *** which had a line : " Swear to die voluntarily for the life of native land ."And the warm singing usually resounded in afternoons : " How beautiful our country is , in the bright moonlight when the cloud is flying around our feet ..."
                   Luc ! Did you die? Why is your singing still resounding behind my ears ? And why is your handwriting in letters you wrote to me still so fresh ? You are like Bon , Khiem , like heros sacrificing their lives for the victorious future . All of you will still be alive in my mind and in our people's soul . "
                * red tie is like the small flag wore by Vietnamese pioneers .
                   Although we prepared before , when the event occured , there are still unsucess and difficulties . This morning , followed by the opinion of steering commitee yesterday , all of serious  wounded soldiers have move into another area. Because we think that the enemy may scour the infirmary.
                    Earlier than 6 o'clock , I urged fellows to bring wounded soldiers . And I also carried lots of things along with them . Carrying over the slope , people's sweat was dripping on their cheeks - but can't linger to wait until it dried up . I encouraged them to come back and carried the last 3 injuried soldiers  left behind .
                     After nearly one and a half hour later , some salvos exploded very closely . I thought mentally enemy might come to the infirmary so I decided to warn so that soldiers could get ready . Not having done that ,I was told by the ethnic guerilla  that enemy had come to the ditch . People run away straight forward .
                      The whole force having task to carry wounded hadn't come here . There are 5 cases left but there is only me , Tam and some students . " Can't leave injured soldiers , try our best to carry them , my fellows !"- I said in a divided mind when opposite to me were some pale and skinny teenagers . The circumstance was much more dangerous when Tam and Quang ran towards me and informed that enemy had come nearer - at the stream .
                       Some cases moved , but there was Kiem - a soldier who was having femur fracture . Not being able to manage , I called a student named Ly to carry him together . Kiem was so big and heavy that 2 women couldn't lift him .We made our arduous effort but could just drag him out of the house . Leaving him alone , I had to go and call some more fellows . Luckily , I met Minh , Co . But they were loosing their breath , announcing that the enemy had shot down Van - an injured soldier . We trailed Kiem and run away , jumping into a pit to hide .
                        One hour later , we gathered together all of wounded soldiers - just lack of Van only . As for revolutionary cadres , there were 9 comrades absent .
                        We decided to move to Ho Sau to take advantage of the terrain and food of the 120 unit like our plan the day before .
                        The displacement was mighty miserable . It may be as unfortunate as the other times our infirmary was  bombed and ambushed , but more arduous because we couldn't rely on anyone . Some ailing comrades that never carried wounded soldiers previously had to get a task to carry one case , wandering up hill and down dale to move into the new location .
                         Weary , hungry and trembling , but my comrades and I were extremely calm. Because we have grown up after some fierce years .
                         At 4 o'clock , we moved into our location .
                         And when the night came , the forest was inundating with moonlight . After asking after my wounded soldiers who didn't have any serious change , I came back , lying and comtemplating the brillian moonlight . I couln't think .
                          Full 2 years . Also in the April , also in the moon season , I undertook a task in Duc Pho when the infirmary had been destroyed after the bombed . It's April again ... Sunshine in the South is always intense . And my disgust is as intense as that sunshine in summer . This afternoon , standing on the top of a high mountain , I watched the old infirmary going up in smoke and my eyes dewed with tears . So much perspiration and effort , so much wealth of people who had saved to support injured soldiers , now it was burnt to the ground ! What  can I say , my comrades ! What can I say except a muttable philosophy of a Vietnamese " There is no better way than beating so that there will be no more an American invader existing in our country . "
      " 18.5.69
                        The fighting situation is continuous , day and night , the shot was still resounding , the sound of helicopter is still screaming in the space and every night the rockets are still blazing in the sky . The war is more and more violent , our soldiers are lying in the battle , lethal weapons , broiling sun and smoke make their skins tanned . The liberation soldiers ! In myriads of peril and danger , you are the people who have to undergone most . Your blood penetrates into the flag and the soil you are protecting . At this time , I feel more poignant than ever about your heroic sacrifice . How holy ... I know that many of you come from the North . And there are also many people who have had  peaceful day and set food in this fierce scene recently . Last time , I met some very young scouts . They must be secondary students who have left the pens and got the rifle to be against the American soldiers , preserve our country ."

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        RE: Đặng Thùy Trâm's Diary 12.02.2008 17:48:31 (permalink)
        " 24.5.69
        Coming back to Pho Cuong when the battle started to break out . At 2 o’clock the shot began . Bombs , bullets , bangers , helicopters , all of them combined into a complicated sound – the sound we usually hear in fighting films . Listening to the shot , I’m little bit worried because we are quite near the border of battle . At that time , I saw Thuan running even though the plane was flying above . He anxiously called me to come to the dug-out to hide .
        That night , we witnessed the scene of battle field together . The enemy reacted extremely violently , jet-planes released bombs everywhere ,fighter helicopters slided , beaming the floodlight and volleying burst of fire onto the battle ground . In the night sky , flaming bullets were dropping as if the fire were pouring down the battle and pouring down my heart as well . Who would have to stand those burst of bullets ? Are they you , the liberation soldiers who used to go with me the night before ? Lam , and brother Den … and so many others . A whole sleepless night . I felt like being on tenterhooks , hatred and meditative ."
        " 18.6.69
        Received a letter from home , the letter is saturated with the colour of peace *. The streets covered with the red flamboyants flowers and the small room in the fragance of lotus . The familiar radio on the cupboard is put at the center of the room . Alas ! My younger sisters , that scence is so far- away , your sister Thuy here just knows flaming volley of bullets in the sky , the acrid gunpowder rushing into the nose , and parting moment in anxiety … That’s why I feel sad when reading your pieces of letter .
        This time , many people are allowed to go the *** . They went happily and cheerfully , but when coming and saying good bye to me , it seemed that they didn’t dare express that happiness . Anyway , I grined when I saw them off . But after that , I stood alone , keeping silent in a long time and didn’t know what to say . Thuy , don’t be blue , let’s set time till someday when our country gains indepence , Th will also go to the North , then happiness will be perfect .
        * The north, where Thuy Tram’s family were living at that moment gained temporary peace but the South hadn’t .
        The dead of Giau made me flabbergasted . In this raid today , the spys shew the underground hideout where he was living . Some mines and cartridge belts of the bloodthirsty enemy killed Giau and another 5 guerillas . Some days before , I had met Giau in Xuan Thanh . The new head nurse of Pho Cuong was very happy meeting me again , he is quite different from few times I met before . May be among what Thuan transferred to him was also one thing that he didn’t speak out loud : it is the duty of protecting me – the cadre of district , his beloved person . Giau completed that responsibility well . He was on be half of Thuan leading me to everywhere for work . Till late at night , he brought me to Thuan’s house and murmured with Thuan : " So now do we let Tram with you or go with me ? " My foster brother replied : " It depends on you" . Giau entrusted me to Thuan , " please guarantee sister Thuy Tram ‘s safety , Thuan ". When it was quite late , he went away .
        I can’t imagine that the dinner having with him on the way through the hamlet , the time eating with him a melon and some bowls of night porridge in the cosy atmosphere of family will be the last .
        This night , in the same moonlight , still those people , that scence but he is now lying in the land .
        His young wife holds the small child in her arms , sitting silent like a dead body . I don’t know what to say with her and my tears was overflowing when hearing her voice choked with emotion in tears : " He now rests in peace , but how can you and Thuan avoid danger and losses ? "
        Alas ! What can I say exept revenge ? Revenge for people laying down and also for us , the people living in disgust and anguish .
        Thuan looked at me again , his black eyes spoke to me in silence :" Life is so short, isn’t it, my dear ? What should we do so that we won’t regret when departing from this life ? "
        Today is daddy’s birthday , I remember that day in the scence of falling bomb and shooting . Yesterday , an unexpected burst of banger killed 5 people and made 2 people injure . I was also in the aiming point of those extremely heavy bangers . Every person hasn’t pulled themselves after being stunned . But I was still like before , still grieved , anxious and meditative in mind . Parents and my dear younger sisters , at that place you can’t penetrate the life here . A greatly heroic but miserably hard life . Dying is easier than having a meal . However , people are still fighting persistently . I’m among thousands of those people , I’m living and struggling , and think that I will lay down for the future of nation . Someday , in the song of triumph , there will be no me . I’m proud of having sacrificed my life for our country . Of course I also feel bitter because of not being allowed to live any more . The peaceful and happy life that people including me had to shed blood and bones to gain . But no problem , millions of people like me lay down without enjoying a completely happy day . That’s why i don’t regret anything !
        This afternoon , feeling sad again , I miss you uncannily. At the present , what are you doing ? I imagine you lying on the hammock , your eyes are grieved and nostalgia makes your face so gaunt . My foster brother , what can I say to you , my special brother ? * "
        Please read carefully this paragraph . The foster brother that she mentions was THUAN . I will tell you an interesting secret about the relationship between this person and Dang Thuy Tram later .
        Met San in the plain . San didn’t fancy having that meeting so he stood transfixed with surprise . Amazement and jubilation prevented him from saying something . San was going to the North so he implored me for going to his house . As I was out of respect for San , I followed him to where he was living . Stepping on the water flooded field of Pho Van , I came after him in the pouring rain in an afternoon . We decided to shelter from the rain in a house that San knew the family .But the house had been burnt by the American , it just remained a piece of sheet iron , there was not enough space for both hosts and guests . Feeling inconvenient , I called for San to go away , but the landlady heavy-heartedly said : " Why don’t you stay and eating rice before going ? You are afraid that the rice is not done to a turn , aren’t you ? "San and I didn’t intend to stay and eat rice but the pot of rice couldn’t be done to a turn indeed . It was raining ceaselessly and very few firewood at the center could be burnt . The pot of rice was boiled more slowly because of the extinguished flame and because the rain was dropping on the pot .Has any cameraman shot such a scene as this ? A simple scene tells people so much about the crime of war .
        Among the guests sheltering from the rain was a cadre . He laughed , telling the story of previous time , when the enemy began to set fire and destroy . At that time , in the well-off hamlet , there were just some fired houses . On TET holiday * , the host laid out the meal to worship ancestor . The tray was put on a burnt door lying on the exposed floor . He – the cadre along with neighbours , visited that family . Looking at that scene , they couldn’t say in tears a complete phrase to encourage and console the victims . But now , it is the same in the whole hamlet and he smiled at this afternoon scene ! We won’t be defeated by those people , this house is burnt , we’ll build another . Just need some thatched pieces to make the cottage , no problem . Because of the life in war , people’s requirement is minimum . Life is now only fighting and working . As for another thing served for man , just a pot of rice with fish sauce , a nylon stretched out in the pit and a bag of clothes , rice , tuber , salt and sauce are enough and ready to be carried on shoulder when the enemy raids .
        San ! When going to the North , remember to tell people living there that the South is still very miserable . Only when the American invaders are not present , is life really life . "
        * TET holiday is one of the most important holidays in a year in Vietnam . It can be considered as the New Year holiday in the Lunar calendar .
        The war is extremely cruel .This morning , they brought me a whole – body – wounded soldier. It is because of the heat of phosphorous bomb . He has been brought to me for an hour since he was in distress , but smoke was still spiralling up from his body . He was a 20-year old boy , the sole son of a female cadre in my hamlet . An unlucky accident made the phosphorous bomb go off and caused the boy’s seriously scalded wound . Noone could realize the usually handsome boy . His bright black eyes now are only 2 small burnt orbits and the smoke of phosphor was still rising in a burnt smell . He looked like having been baked by the oven . I stood transfixed in front of that heart-breaking scene . His mother was whining , her couple of hands trembled , touching the son’s whole body . Some pieces of skins were flacing off and made bend . His younger and elder sisters took care of him , the tears were overflowing on their cheeks . And one more girl was sitting next to him in stupefaction . Her gentle eyes were bleary because of anxiety , her hair sticked to her blushing cheeks in perspiration . She was too exhausted and moved . Tu ( the girl’s name ) is Khanh(his name)’s lover . She has carried Khanh onto the floor . Knowing that he needed serum to be transmitted , Tu waded across the river to buy it . The river level is rising high , although she didn’t know how to swim , love granted her the power . At this time , Tu is sitting there in silence , persistently . The naive forehead of a beautiful girl is now wincing in anguish .Looking at her, I had wanted to compose a poem about the crime of war , the crime of quelling millions of pure love , millions of man’s happiness , but then I couldn’t . My pen couldn’t write although this is a case I felt in my all senses and affection ."
        The scene of sunset coming to the rice field is always poetic whatever circumstances are . This morning , the enemy staged raid in Kim Giao . On fighting , 2 fellows were seriously wounded . One person died . Despite sorrow and death pressing upon me , this afternoon , standing in the yellow-ripened rice field , I suddenly realized that life was still going on . People were still havesting rice in crowds , and the smile was still cheerful on the face of the young comrade going along with me . His name is Cong , who was Lien’s lover . Lien died just nearly 10 days ago , Cong is unspeakably desolate . But now , walking next to me , he is still merry and the conversation is still quite enthusiastic . A moment before going , he played a sheer jolly song with the mandolin . I watched him and felt so uncommon . If I were Cong , what would happen ?
        I may not be able to have that smile and play that ardour music ."

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          RE: Đặng Thùy Trâm's Diary 14.02.2008 15:01:51 (permalink)
          “ 3.9.69
          Uncle ! We , your children ,  swear to fight until we can complete  your undone will and cause at any cost : To liberate the South and gain independence , freedom for our country .
          The most heart-broken funeral has come to us . Uncle Ho has passed away .
           Alas ! I didn’t cry but felt that my heart was oozing blood , it was   really a wordless anguish . Uncle! Why did you leave us when your cause was still incomplete ! Our country hasn’t had national unity  ,  Southern compatriots haven’t greeted you to come to the south , but you fell on sleep perpetually . Uncle , in the paradise , you must not feel secure when half of our country is still in fire and sword , Vietnamese ’s blood is still oozing for your carreer and our people .
          Missing you , we swear to struggle to complete our general cause. Missing you , our tears will change into the hatred for the American aggressors .
          My Uncle ! Vietnamese compatriots , poletarians from all over the world , let’s believe that Uncle Ho will never lay down , your reputation and your cause will live eternally .”
          “ 13.9.69
          My dear foster brother , the more distant you are , the more I miss you . I miss you and worry about you more than ever . The day we will meet each other is as dim as a small light in the late night , I’m a pedestrian looking fixedly at that lamp in craving and expectation . Do you know how I have struggled to be near you ? When my wish is not gained , I feel painfully grieved  . Among hundred thousands of profound anxiety , I can’t forget a thing : When will I see you ? When can I live near you as we used to live ? Don’t lie down , my dear , please live , you have to live so that there will be one day when I can hug you with my holy affection that I reserve for a dear brother from the South .”
           * These lines are about Thuan , who I told you to pay great attention to .
          “ 23.9.69
          November is nearly over , time runs unexpectedly fast .Autumn has come to the ripe yellow rice field . The scene of harvest should have been so happy because the prosperousness has come after many strenous days . But in fact the American invaders attempt to threaten the rice field . They stage raids on the early morning , bangers ram down the center of field … Anxiety and disgust drowns the happiness of the crop . Suddenly , I remember films and the songs sung on the rice field of socialist , and I writhe in anguish thinking the question : When and when willthe South gain Peace , Freedom and Independence ?
          There isn’t your( Thuan ) letter among the letters from the South . According to some people , I know that you are ailing and miserable , having a nervous breakdown . My compassion for you is so deep . Wherever I am , whatever I do , I can’t forget you . Alas , is there a manner that I can share with you that all anguish ? Wish that my brother will be unharmed so that we can meet each other . From a distant place , I send you hundred thousand times of cherish , can you hear me , my special brother !”
          Flood , water is inundating the whole rice field and villages in low land .
          The American have landed troops since yesterday morning . This morning , we woke up at 4 to prepare and take precautions that the enemy may lay an ambush . It was still raining ceaselessly . At 7 o’clock in the morning , they began staging raids . We went down the fortification which is a large – scale artillery trench . However it is so old that two air holes are covered . It should have been me and brother Ky that stayed there but I thought it was abit difficult and inconvenient ( although nothing happened) . So I suggested Tam to stay with us . After an hour staying in the fortification , the water began rising and then rised very fast , after a while it run high nearly our chests . I couldn’t bear the freeze . In spite of the fact that we didn’t know where the American were , we decided to go up and hide in a brushwood . Till midday , we saw Tam and Di carrying the guns . There wasn’t another fortification that we could stay in , all of them were flooding but we didn’t know where the American were . We all came to Tam’s house , and all of us were wet to the skin , stone-cold and shuddered . However I’m still happy – there is just this scene when we are soldiers fighting in the war , and people’s pale lips were still smiling . All of the radios and watches were dried on the fire because they drank fully water.”

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            RE: Đặng Thùy Trâm's Diary 15.02.2008 16:27:17 (permalink)
            It is still raining . Staying in a house that hasn’t suffered from the war , I still don’t feel cosy although I’m living with a happy and full family . Sitting in the camp bed at the centre of the house , I watched the smoke spiralling up from the rice bowl and worried about my people . At the moment , in the cold wind and rain , are you on the way , brother Nam ? The icy wind blowing through your shirt must be making you tremble slightly . I wish this sister’s sense of mercy could be a flame warming your heart .
            Also this time , in the far away South , where fire and smoke is widespread , where is my foster brother ? In the flooding fortification or in the forest ? Each day , i’m farther from you , and I have to compress remembrance with love .
            And this time , where are homeless families and children ? Where can you hide ? "
            Coming back to the forest after 3 months fighting strenously against the enemy . I feel so anguished when watching the plain . Hamlets that used to feed me for many days are now trodden on by the enemy . They levelled from Duc Phong to Cua mountain . Standing in Hoi An , I could see My A coast line ! Alas , how heart-broken I am ! The rest people now wander about without any dwellling , they can’t leave their hometown even when it is just now a devasted land , trees collapsed under the wheels of bulldozers . Because they still have relations with revolution , wives came back , shouldering in the afternoon day after day on the untidy furrow . They tried to cook a pot of rice so that their husbands won’t be hungry . Old and weak mothers bring rice bowls to each soaked children who have hidden in the river bank ! "
            Today is Phuong’s birthday . ( Phuong is the abbreviation of Phuong Tram , Thuy Tram’s younger sister ) . My sister ! It is not because the drizzling rain and cold wind blowing from the North causes the chill in this forest that I miss you . Everytime , under any circumstances do I keep in mind tranquil memories of our family . I miss the sundays when we celebrated birthday party , our house is full of friends who came and said Happy birthday ,and warm meals as well . Today is sunday , too , so what is my sister doing to celebrate my birthday ? For sure you will remember me , in your happiness is a remembrance to a sister in a distant land . My sister can’t imagine what I’m doing today . Today ? In the morning , I carried a bush-hook for work , at midday , I carried medicine on the shoulders , following 2 comrades , to ask after some ill cadres . On the way , I met soldiers , I hesitated , standing beside a country-man but couldn’t say anything . They were picking bamboo sprout , their skins was pale and they told me that they had suffered hunger and malaria for such a long time . This great Resistance is made of bonnes , blood and youths of many people , do you know that ? "
            One more year old , one more arduous year in the South battle field . Hope that Thuy will always be steady on the glorious way that Thuy did choose . Th ! Th is not sad when in Th’s birthday anniversary , there are only wet leaves in the overflowing rain whispering with Th dear words .Th is not sad when the birthday song today is just the sound of stream rushing in noisily . And the room in which Th is sitting to write down on the life notebook is this narrow and wet trench . Th will not be sad because in the future , when opening these pages , Th will be proud of the time of youth . Here , Th doesn’t have mild moment with friends , beside a small vase with fragrant roses put on the table . Here , Th doesn’t have the happiness of walking next to lover on a silent way , when the sky becomes gradually violet in the sunset . Here , Th is short of many things but Th is also quite adequate .
            So cheer up and smile Th , when the life notebook turns over a new page with lots of brilliant glories . "
            ( Thuy Tram was born on 26.11 , Phuong Tram was born on 23.11 . Of course in different years . So the 2 sisters usually celebrated their birthdays at the same day ) That’s why she wrote : . Today is sunday , too , so what is my sister doing to celebrate my birthday ?
            Coming back to Pho Cuong , felt moved when meeting again acquaintances . Pho Cuong hometown is still unchanged : quite jolly , and people greeted me heartily with their whole love . Still the same , everytime like this , I had the feeling of a child who had been far away from hometown for a long time , and then came back home to live in family’s affection ."

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              RE: Đặng Thùy Trâm's Diary 16.02.2008 16:35:39 (permalink)
                          How happy I was when I could live in your ardent sense of mercy . Days living in  the North , it’s impossible for me to imagine some times when I can see your glistening eyes , impossible to imagine when I can clutch your hands and give your hair a stroke . Today is that time . There is Thuong beside you , all of us lived in such a mild time . The revolutionary love did warm my heart , I don’t feel cold any longer although the breezy wind is coming and drizzling rain is scattering on every village .
                         Tomorrow I will set off , see you soon my beloved people and see you soon , my dear foster brother !
                          Cold night , each blowing gust of northeastern monsoon  makes me numb with cold. Running to you, I was trembling slightly because of the coldness but then I  got warm again because you brought me a piece of parachute fabric. And you hands  wringed mine in profound cherish. It hadn’t been time to go, so I lingered in a short time but time doesn’t permit me . At 3.45’, brother Thuong and I took the bags over our shoulders. My foster brother saw me off till going to the gathering place. In the parting moment , I saw in your affectionate black eyes an uncanny love and remembrance – I said good bye to you as if to a dear brother by birth. When will I meet you again ? 
                         Does the harsh atmosphere of war make me run out of tears? In the past, a sad story in a film could make me shed tears but now I can bite my lips silently in a parting moment when both people staying and going don’t know whether who will live or die then. And this afternoon, standing in front of Nhieu’s grave, I felt that my heart was oozing blood , but I just had tears welling up. His tomb is next to the way, the wreath hasn’t withered, he has died for more than 100 days but I still think that young brother has recently laid down. Burning an incense and setting up on his tomb, I didn’t know what to say with a dead person. Nhieu ! You have died as an unyielding soldier and your life is such a song for the living to sing and praise. Nhieu ! You died when being in a youthful dreamy life, in a blooming love. Your relatives and I can just promise that we will keep on fighting to revenge for you. ”
                         On New Year Eve ‘s of 1969, we are operating to the old infirmary. The leave-taking moment between me and close people on PHO KHANH land is so unforgettable for me.
                          Nearly one month ago when  I came back from the North after 2 years apart, the first close person holding me in the tight arms and shedding tears is Van, a constant friend who loved me as a sister by birth. What can I do to repay for that full of deep affection, Van? Tonight, when my feet are stepping on familiar and dangerous ways, I am really deep in though. The more violent and fierce the struggle is, the nearer I am to the death. Once, if I had been late for few minutes , I would have been dead or in the enemy’s prison. Not until we were 20 meters far from the hostile, did we run. Luckily, my cadres and wounded soldiers were all right, but I lost all of the bags, there was only a small bag consisting of some technical tools and a radio left . After a night sleeping in the forest and a day climbing over mountains, we finally came to civilians and cadres’ dwelling of Pho Khanh. There we did live in the love of people. Bon’s family, Truu and Hon, Long, Ba, Duc …  treated me with kindness and consideration . There, there were also Hoan, Tong, brother Xu .., who were very soulful and kid-glove cadres.
                           This afternoon, when I left, close people saw me in such a long way. When will I come back here to sit again in the boat sailing on the windy An Khe marsh ?
                           Good bye my beloved Pho Khanh . Good bye Van , we will get together someday...
                long tong

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                RE: Đặng Thùy Trâm's Diary 18.02.2008 11:14:01 (permalink)
                Thanks for the opportunity to read the excerpt of the famous diary of Dr Dang thuy Tram in English.  Having read the original diary in Vietnamese and was very moved by the author's writing, personally, I think this English translation did not convey all of Dr Tram's thinking, emotions etc ....
                Hopefully, history will not repeat itself.  This was the dark age of the Vietnamese history, Vietnamese fighting against Vietnamese for the unification of the country with the ultimate goal of building a failed "paradise on earth", an unfeasable communist society causing the loss of millions of talented lives such as Dr Tram's. 
                Happy new year to all and good luck to the motherland.
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