On June 8, 1972, Vietnam War survivor, Kim Phuc’s iconic photo (clicked by photojournalist Nick Ut) of her writhing in pain, running naked, towards the camera, made headlines when Vietnamese military accidentally dropped blazing napalm on their own people. The photographed shook the world and turned everyone’s attention to the bloody reality of the Vietnam War.
The impact of the fire that stuck onto Kim’s body left her with unimaginable stiffness and scars that were 4 times as thick as the normal skin. Throughout these years, the insurmountable pain she endured is nothing as compared to the damage napalm burns brought to her heart and soul. No medication could cure the disability she suffered in her left arm which is still as good as not having one.
When the horrific incident occurred, Nick first rushed Kim to the hospital before filing the photographs he clicked. The moment captured by Nick not just earned him the glorified Pulitzer Prize but also steered way for Kim’s laser treatment in America (better late than never, though!).
Over the years, the bond between Kim and Nick has not just gone from strength to strength but also graduated to more of a father-daughter relationship. She calls Nick, Uncle Ut – the man she believes stood like a rock by her side, other than Bui Huy Toan, her husband.
Currently, Phuc is undergoing laser treatments at Miami Dermatology and Laser Institute. Jill Waibel, her doctor (who is not charging her for the treatment) stated the laser treatment will soften and smoothen the thick scars.
Wishing Kim Phuc a speedy recovery!
Cover Image Source: Flickr