Twenty years after terrified residents fled and communist troops marched into this graceful city of palaces and pagodas, civilians and soldiers paraded together Sunday to commemorate what official histories now call Hue's liberation.
Goose-stepping soldiers, children waving balloons and floats carrying larger-than-life portraits of the late revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh wended through the center of Hue, soaked by a steady rain.
"Looking back 20 years, we feel very happy at the achievements of the Hue people," Vu Thang, provincial Communist Party leader, said in a speech that began the day's festivities. "Under American rule, Hue people's lives were hard, but they continued attacking the enemy under difficult conditions. We were victorious because of the leadership of the Communist Party."
Hue, 400 miles north of Saigon, was the fourth-largest city in South Vietnam. It fell less than a month into a blitzkrieg North Vietnamese campaign against the U.S.-backed South Vietnamese government that culminated April 30 with the capture of Saigon itself.