On June 8, 1972, a 9-year-old girl heard a soldier scream — a warning to run — and a few seconds later she saw the village temple her family had sought refuge in engulfed in flames. It was napalm. American and North Vietnamese forces, fighting over the village, sent her running screaming, her clothes burned off, her skin melting.
A photographer snapped a shot of her grave distress, and it became one of the most unforgettable photographs of the Vietnam War.
There’s something like a happy ending to the story. The girl did not die. The photographer took her to a hospital, and insisted she be treated. Her face had never been affected by the burns, which covered 30 percent of her body, and her skin slowly healed. Phan Thi Kim Phuc, the mother of two children, recently visited with the photographer, Nick Ut, who had saved her life.