Kim Phuc today with her young son Thomas.
40 years ago Kim Phuc was running from an airborne attack, horribly burned with Napalm – in June of 1972. She ran blindly, in unbelievable pain, right at the lens of Associated Press photog Nick Ut …and this 9 year old girl ran straight into the pages of history.
Nick made the frame, and then saved her life. He got her to an army hospital. From there she was transferred to a facility in Saigon, the only one in Vietnam equipped to handle complex and severe injuries. Many months of convalescence later, she went back to her village, still in pain, but alive.
In the second image – The children from left to right are: Phan Thanh Tam, younger brother of Kim Phuc, who lost an eye, Phan Thanh Phouc, youngest brother of Kim Phuc, Kim Phuc, and Kim’s cousins Ho Van Bon, and Ho Thi Ting. Behind them are soldiers of the Vietnam Army 25th Division, June 8, 1972. (Nick Ut/AP Photo)
Kim has found peace, and a message she can offer, borne of her suffering. She runs The Kim Foundation International, which promotes reconciliation, and she acts as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO. She has transformed from “the girl in the picture,” or, “the napalm girl,” into a viable, visible symbol of peace and hope. Her’s is an important story of resilience, courage, and forgiveness.
Nick and Kim remain firm friends to this day – she calls him uncle.