South Viet Nam: The Hero

The greatest Communist folk hero to emerge from the Viet Nam war is a skinny teen-ager named Nguyen Van Be, who left his home in the Mekong Delta to join the Viet Cong. Van Be's death is recorded in poem, song and story throughout North Viet Nam and among the Viet Cong. Prompted by Hanoi's radio and newspapers, North Vietnamese schoolchildren compare his deeds to "a thousand thunderbolts." His picture, taken when he was a guerrilla, has become a pinup among the Viet Cong, who name squads after him and hold periods of silent meditation to gain strength from his...