For many, the photograph of a little girl running scared and naked from her burning village epitomized all that was wrong with the Vietnam conflict.

Kim Phuc (Phan Thi Kim Phuc) was that little girl.

In this famous photograph we see her facing the photographer with a look of fear and pain, as her village in the central Vietnamese highlands, Trang Bang, burns from US napalm bombs in the background. Her clothes are burned from her body, she cannot find her parents, and she is suffering from horrific injuries. The photographer, Nick Ut, after taking this picture, immediately put her into a vehicle and took her straight to the hospital, where she underwent extensive surgery. Half her body suffered third degree burns and she spent 14 painful months in rehabilitation. Nick Ut also transported Kim's two brothers, one of whom can be seen in the picture, and also her aunt and uncle.

Nick did not leave the hospital until he knew Kim was on the operating table recieving the medical attention she needed so badly.

As she grew up, she had a great interest in medicine, taking it as her chosen studies. She was very much interested in the ability to heal others. She was allowed to leave Vietnam for Cuba, and was eager to defect to the west, which she and her new husband eventually did, seeking asylum in Canada, while her plane was refuelling.

With her new lifestyle, Kim used her notoriety to spread a message of peace and healing across the land.

In November 1997, Kim was named a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Also in 1997, she founded the Kim Foundation in Chicago, to help innocent victims of war, just like her.

This photograph and others by Nick Ut can be seen at this URL:

With thanks to my sister and various websites

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