Vietnam War Bunker Discovered Beneath Historic Hanoi Hotel
Workers at Hanoi’s historic Metropole Hotel have uncovered an underground war bunker that reportedly sheltered Jane Fonda, Joan Baez and numerous other foreign guests during the so-called Christmas Bombings that rocked parts of Vietnam’s capital in 1972.
According to a report by The Washington Post, the bunker’s exact location remained a mystery until workers pierced its concrete roof while renovating a poolside bar at the landmark Hotel earlier this summer.
Since unearthing the shelter, workers have found very little artifacts worth mentioning, but the stories recalled are worth their weight in gold.
Nguyen Thi Xuan Phuong, an 82-year-old retired Vietnamese doctor, remembers staying in the bunker during the 72? bombings with anti-war activist Baez. On one of the 12 nights that B-52s pounded areas around the city, the lights went out, prompting a few foreigners to scream in the darkness.
“Can you sing a song?” Phuong asked the young singer at the time. “We may not change the situation, but your songs may help calm people down.” When Baez’s voice rang out as someone plucked a guitar, the bunker was revitalized, Phuong explained.
While Metropole is currently undecided on what to do with the bomb shelter, Kai Speth, general manager of the hotel, believes the seven-room space should be preserved as part of Vietnam’s history.
“If these walls could talk, they would tell a lot of stories,” said Speth, while giving The Associated Press an exclusive first glimpse. Speth added, “[The bunker] needs to be brought back into the life of the hotel as a reminder of what this hotel and this town went through.”