Vietnamese woman recalls photo that shocked the world
TRANG BANG, Vietnam (AP) -- It remains one of the most indelible images from the Vietnam War -- a photo that was shot 40 years ago today, showing a 9-year-old girl (Kim Phuc) fleeing her burning Vietnamese village. Her clothes had been burned off by a napalm attack.
Thirty percent of her body was scorched by third-degree burns. When the AP photographer who took the picture, Nick Ut, drove her to a hospital, he was told that she was too far gone to help. He demanded that she be treated.
When he developed his film and the image of the naked girl emerged, an editor said that the photo's news value outweighed any other concerns that it would violate standards.
The image, which would win a Pulitzer prize, shocked the world. Another journalist arranged to have the girl transferred to an American-run facility in Saigon that could treat her severe burns. She was there for more than a year.
After she was released, the communist leaders who took control of all of Vietnam initially used her for propaganda purposes -- but eventually, she was allowed to study in Cuba, where she met a young Vietnamese man who would become her husband. On the way back from their honeymoon, they defected during a refueling stop in Canada, and they settled near Toronto.
She and the photographer have since reunited many times to tell their story.
After four decades, the young girl who is now a 49-year-old mother of two sons can look at the picture and understand why it remains so powerful.