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US Soldier Who Helped Stop Killing of Unarmed Vietnamese Villagers Dies

时间:2017-01-02 15:58来源:互联网 提供网友:nan   字体: [ ]


American Larry Colburn, who became famous for his actions during the Vietnam War, died earlier this month.

He was 67 years old.

Lisa Colburn, his wife of 31 years, told the Associated Press that Colburn died three months after they learned he had cancer.

“He was a very peaceful man who had a great desire for there to be a peaceful world,” she said.

Lawrence Colburn joined the United States military during the Vietnam War. The U.S. government supported South Vietnam in its battle against North Vietnam and its allies1.

Colburn was the last surviving member of an army helicopter crew that halted the killing2 of hundreds of Vietnamese civilians3 by American soldiers. The incident took place in the village of My Lai on March 16, 1968. It is now called the My Lai massacre4.

The three-man crew had been sent to the village to try to find enemy soldiers. Instead, they found murdered, unarmed civilians and U.S. soldiers who were prepared to kill more villagers.

Hugh Thompson, the pilot, landed the helicopter between villagers who were still alive and troops who were planning to shoot them. Thompson told Colburn and the other crew member, Glenn Andreotta, to prepare to shoot the Americans if they tried to kill the civilians. Colburn and Andreotta agreed.

In 2006, Colburn told the Democracy Now radio program that the helicopter crew saw troops walking toward about 10 villagers who were hiding in a bunker. He said the crew “decided that if we didn’t do something within the next 30 seconds, these people would die. So (Thompson) landed the aircraft in between the advancing American troops” and the villagers.

Thompson spoke5 to the leader of the soldiers “and asked him how we could get these people out of the bunker. They were obviously civilians. And the lieutenant6 replied he’d get them out with hand grenades. Mr. Thompson, who was outranked by this lieutenant, actually gave the lieutenant an order, told him to keep his people in place. He had a better idea, and I think he told him, ‘If you fire on these people when I’m getting them out of the bunker, my people will fire on you.’”

An Army investigation7 later found that the soldiers had begun killing the villagers without warning. Before the helicopter crew was able to stop the killing, 504 civilians -- mostly women, children and old people -- were dead.

Trent Angers wrote a biography8 about Thompson called “The Forgotten Hero of My Lai: The Hugh Thompson Story.” He said that Colburn “stood up, shoulder to shoulder with Hugh and Glenn, to oppose and stand down against those who were committing crimes against humanity9. Without his assistance, Hugh might not have done what he did.”

Many years after the incident, Colburn and Thompson were given the U.S. Army’s Soldier’s Medal. It is the U.S. military’s highest award for bravery not involving conflict with the enemy.

Glenn Andreotta was killed in battle three weeks after the My Lai shootings. Hugh Thompson died in 2006.

In 2008, 40 years after the My Lai massacre, Larry Colburn returned to the village. He met Do Ba, whose life Colburn had saved on that day.

Charles Pierce wrote on Esquire.com that Colburn’s actions are “one of the more astonishing displays of courage of which I’ve ever heard.” He wrote that Colburn’s funeral should “be on national television. Children (should) read about him in school. There (should) be memorials on the National Mall and at West Point.”

Words in This Story

bunker – n. a strong building that is mostly below ground and that is used to keep people, soldiers, weapons, etc., safe from attacks

grenade – n. a small bomb that is designed to be thrown by someone or shot from a rifle

outrank – v. to have a higher rank or position than (someone)

shoulder to shoulder – expression united together to achieve a shared goal

astonishing – adj. causing a feeling of great surprise or wonder

National Mall – n. an area in Washington, DC where there are many monuments and memorials

West Point – n. town in New York where the United States Military Academy is located. The USMA trains young men and women to be military officers.


1 allies 0315fa8e6410a54cc80a4eb2babcda27     
联盟国,同盟者; 同盟国,同盟者( ally的名词复数 ); 支持者; 盟军
  • The allies would fear that they were pawns in a superpower condominium. 这个联盟担心他们会成为超级大国共管的牺牲品。
  • A number of the United States' allies had urged him not to take a hasty decision. 美国的一些盟友已力劝他不要急于作决定。
2 killing kpBziQ     
  • Investors are set to make a killing from the sell-off.投资者准备清仓以便大赚一笔。
  • Last week my brother made a killing on Wall Street.上个周我兄弟在华尔街赚了一大笔。
3 civilians 2a8bdc87d05da507ff4534c9c974b785     
平民,百姓( civilian的名词复数 ); 老百姓
  • the bloody massacre of innocent civilians 对无辜平民的血腥屠杀
  • At least 300 civilians are unaccounted for after the bombing raids. 遭轰炸袭击之后,至少有300名平民下落不明。
4 massacre i71zk     
  • There was a terrible massacre of villagers here during the war.在战争中,这里的村民惨遭屠杀。
  • If we forget the massacre,the massacre will happen again!忘记了大屠杀,大屠杀就有可能再次发生!
5 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
6 lieutenant X3GyG     
  • He was promoted to be a lieutenant in the army.他被提升为陆军中尉。
  • He prevailed on the lieutenant to send in a short note.他说动那个副官,递上了一张简短的便条进去。
7 investigation MRKzq     
  • In an investigation,a new fact became known, which told against him.在调查中新发现了一件对他不利的事实。
  • He drew the conclusion by building on his own investigation.他根据自己的调查研究作出结论。
8 biography YRfyx     
  • He is now collecting material for a biography of Tao Yuanming.他正在为写陶渊明传记搜集材料。
  • Boswell wrote a famous biography of Dr.White.鲍斯韦尔为怀特博士写过一本著名传记。
9 humanity Nc4xR     
  • Such an act is a disgrace to humanity.这种行为是人类的耻辱。
  • We should treat animals with humanity.我们应该以仁慈之心对待动物。
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