“Long live Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap,” people chanted and many burst into tears as his flag-draped coffin passed by on a truck-drawn artillery carriage.
Giap, who died on October 4, 2013 at age 102, was revered in Vietnam only second to his mentor, former President Ho Chi Minh.
In a eulogy, Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong said Gen. Giap’s great contribution will be “forever imprinted in the nation’s history”.
Gen. Giap’s body was to be flown for burial in his home province of Quang Binh in central Vietnam later on Sunday.
“No words can describe how much love and respect people reserve for Gen. Giap,” said Nguyen Thi Vi, 71, from central province of Ha Tinh, as she was waiting in the crowd.
“I feel like I lost one of my relatives. Gen. Giap will live forever in the heart of Vietnamese people and we may not witness another great man like him,” she said. “We should set up temples to honor him and where people can go and pay their respect.”
In the lead-up to his funeral on Sunday, an estimated 150,000 visited Giap’s colonial villa in Hanoi to pay their respects.
On Saturday, several tens of thousands of people lined up to say farewell when his body was laid in state at the national funeral house. Visiting hours were extended from 9 p.m. to midnight, but still thousands were left lined up outside when it closed.
Gen. Giap will be buried at his home province of Quang Binh in central Vietnam later on Sunday in accordance with his wishes and those of his family instead of the Mai Dich cemetery in Hanoi where most Vietnamese high-ranking officials were buried.