Former warrior reflects on his wartime experiences

Mr Ornchan Sommany, an 83-year-old resident of Viengxay village, Viengxay district in Huaphan province is a former warrior who has toiled hard in the service of the country and its people.
Reporters visited Mr Ornchan’s family and spoke to him about his past exploits during a recent working trip to Viengxay district to interview local authorities about celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the liberation forces’ command centre taking place on November 30.

Mr Ornchan with his wife.

Mr Ornchan proudly shared his long and fascinating story detailing how he was an active fighter and strong advocate for the national cause, and served as an example to other Lao youth.
Joining the revolutionary forces at a young age, he contributed to the fight for democracy and independence and devoted himself to the nation’s liberation and protection in wartime and afterwards.
His experience includes working as a member of the security guards, public security and police for decades with many units and sectors.
On behalf of all veterans, Mr Ornchan urged the younger generation to learn about the practices and traditions of the former revolutionary leaders and fighters and their love for protecting and developing the country.
Mr Ornchan was born on September 2, 1935, in Xiengmaen village, Viengxay district, Huaphan province and joined the revolutionary forces at a young age and served his country until he retired in 1988.
The sprightly octogenarian explained that he enlisted with the revolutionary movement on April 1, 1953, at the age of 18 and was assigned to the security guard force unit with which he was proud to serve.
“I left my family for the revolutionary movement at a young age because I trusted the revolutionary leaders, loved the country and people. In addition, I hated the old regime which was weak and wasn’t just, and I hated the enemies of our country,” Mr Ornchan said.
“The colonialists were very dangerous and wild. At that time (before 1975) our country was under the control of foreign colonialists and we suffered in difficult circumstances. People had no freedom and couldn’t do what they wanted.”
“The country wasn’t peaceful and the colonialists occupied the good farming areas and people couldn’t access it. Many people were forced to work hard for them.”
“Life in wartime wasn’t easy. Living conditions were very bad, there weren’t safe places to sleep and not enough food and clothing.”
“Everyone was in constant fear of dying. All revolutionary leaders, forces and people could dress only in black and green clothes to ensure their safety.  We could only work or move from place to place at night and had to be careful with every movement. In the daytime, the enemy dropped bombs all the time so it was very dangerous.”
“But thanks to our former leaders and the revolutionary movement we were able to open a bright new era for Laos, leading people to fight for their independence together and liberating the country.”
While serving in the conflict Mr Ornchan worked for many different units. While many of his friends died, he was fortunate enough to survive. 
In 1957, he changed from being a security guard to a police officer with the public security force unit.
From 1963 to August 1964 he studied in Vietnam and upon his return worked in his hometown for the police propaganda unit. In April 1973, he again studied for a short time in Vietnam and returned to work with the central public security office.
After dedicating himself to the service of the nation for decades, on November 14, 1988, he received a retirement grant.
After his retirement, he was a committee member of the Lao Veterans Association for several years as well as a member of Viengxay district’s Lao Front for National Development.
Mr Ornchan said “Today we have peace and independence because of the hard work during the country’s liberation and the sacrifices of former leaders, warriors and people in the past.”
“It wasn’t easy to liberate the nation. Many people sacrificed themselves for the country’s liberation. They set a good example for future generations.”
“I would like to remind the younger generation to follow the example set and continue contributing to the country’s protection and development. The revolutionary movement led us to independence so we should be thankful and commemorate our former leaders.”

By Visith Teppalath
(Latest Update November 28, 2018)

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