President John F. Kennedy at his inauguration
on January 20, 1961. In his address, the young President summoned
the nation to "pay the price, bear any burden...to assure
the survival and the success of liberty" throughout the
Vietnamese tradition held that the turning of the lunar year
should bring auspicious signs and gladness of heart; thus it
had become customary for both sides to observe a truce during
the holidays celebrations. In 1968, a thirty-six hour cease-fire
had been agreed upon, to commence at midnight on January 30.
Centuries before, Vietnam had won a great victory in her running
war with the Chinese by attacking their Hanoi garrison at the
feight of the Tet observances. In 1968, the Communist led forces
in vietnam chose to creat their own auspicious signs by repeating
A little after midnight on January 30, they assaulted the
Nra Trang perimeter. All day long, from Quang Tri to CA Mau,
in a barrage of rockets and mortars, they attacked provincial
capitals and divisional headquarters. No target was too formidable.
They attacked Bien Hoa, Cam Ranh Bay, and even Tan Son Nhut.
Vietcong and NVA solidiers were fighting in the streets of Hue,
DaNang, and Saigon itself.