Fight of Their Lives
Nguyen Ba To remembers the 56-day siege of dien bien phu: the hardiness of his fellow soldiers, artillery shells that exploded so close he could barely breathe, a buddy who died. Last week, the 73-year-old veteran returned to the site of the battle that led to France's withdrawal from Vietnam. "It's changed a lot," he said, scanning a parking lot jammed with motorbikes near a carefully preserved French bunker.

In a celebration that was simultaneously reverent and self serving, the ruling Communist Party commemorated the 50th anniversary of the French surrender with fireworks...

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