My Lai has been a byword for the war crimes which can erupt in modern warfare ever since it was exposed by Ronald Ridenhour in 1969. Ridenhour served in Vietnam as a helicopter gunner, but did not take part in the operation himself.
It was the worst recorded U.S. war crime committed in Vietnam. More than 500 people, nearly all civilians, were shot or burned to death in a U.S. attack on a number of small villages in the Son My area of Vietnam’s central highlands.
In Vietnam, a low-key ceremony is planned to honor the dead, with a shrine being consecrated nearby.
Please add any relevant information about the My Lai anniversary
Please add any relevant information about the My Lai anniversaryEdit
The name associated with the killings – who stood trial, in a court-martial – is William Calley, a lieutenant at the time. Although Calley was convicted in 1971 of 22 murders, and initially sentenced to life imprisonment, a huge public outcry in his defense led him to being released in 1974. He had served just three and a half years under house arrest at the direct orders of President Richard Nixon.
Relations between Vietnam and the United States were restored in 1995. Earlier this month, a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, made the first visit to a Vietnamese port since the war. It sailed into Da Nang, itself famous for its role in the war, only 25 miles from Son My.
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