Ho Chi Minh

Letter To Old People

First Published: September 20, 1945
Source: Selected Works of Ho Chi Minh Vol. 3
Publisher: Foreign Languages Publishing House
Transcription/Markup: Christian Liebl
Online Version: Ho Chi Minh Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2005

Dear Elders,

I am talking with you as an elder like you. A saying runs that “talents are exhausted with the coming of old age ” and our elders generally believe it. Whatever happens, they say, “old people must live in quietness, we are old, we have no more ambition. It is up to our children to take charge of temporal affairs. We are nearing death, we need not be active any longer. ”

I do not appreciate this outlook. Patriots never live idly by reason of their old age. China had people such as Ma Fu Po. Our country had people such as Ly Thuong Kiet. The older they grew, the more energetic and heroic they became.

At present our independence and freedom have just been won back, but we still have to go through many difficulties in order to consolidate them. In consequence our people, old and young alike, must endeavour to shoulder a part of the responsibility.

Our children are young, they will do heavy work. We are old, we cannot do heavy work, but leaning on our sticks, we will take the lead to encourage them and impart our experiences to them. We are elders, we must sincerely unite first to set an example to our children. Hence I hope that the old people in Hanoi will pioneer in organizing the old people’s National Salvation Association for the old folk throughout the country to follow suit and contribute to the safeguarding of our national independence.