Thousands gather for 42nd anniversary of My Lai massacre

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The central province of Quang Ngai commemorated the 42nd anniversary of the My Lai massacre with a bell ringing Tuesday morning.

The bell, set at the Son My Memorial and Museum in Tinh Khe Commune, rang out for five long rings and four short rings in remembrance of the 504 people, mostly women and children from My Lai and My Khe hamlets, killed by the US Army in wanton bloodlust on March 16, 1968.

Thousands of local residents, foreign visitors and US war veterans also gathered at a ceremony to offer incense a Vietnamese custom to honor the dead for the victims.

The BBC described the massacre thusly:

"Soldiers went berserk, gunning down unarmed men, women, children and babies. Families which huddled together for safety in huts or bunkers were shown no mercy. Those who emerged with hands held high were murdered"¦Women were gang raped, Vietnamese who had bowed to greet the Americans were beaten with fists and tortured, clubbed with rifle butts and stabbed with bayonets. Some victims were mutilated with the signature "C Company" carved into the chest."

An eyewitness described one scene from the killings: "He [a US soldier] fired at it [the baby] with a .45. He missed. We all laughed. He got up three or four feet closer and missed again. We laughed. Then he got up right on top and plugged him."

"I would say that most people in our company didn't consider the Vietnamese human," said Dennis Bunning, a US soldier present at the massacre.

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