June 8, 1972: Nick Ut photographs Phan Thị Kim Phúc in his Pulitzer Prize-winning image. 

Associated Press photographer Nick Ut, born Huỳnh Công Út in Long Ang, Vietnam, was twenty-one when he captured one of the most iconic war photographs in history: “The Terror of War”, which depicts Vietnamese children, ARVN soldiers, and press photographers fleeing a misdirected South Vietnamese napalm bombing of the South Vietnamese village of Trảng Bàng, which had been attacked and occupied by North Vietnamese forces. The focal point of this famous image is Kim Phuc Phan Thi, at the time a child of nine, whose clothes had caught fire during the attack, forcing her to strip them off; the burns inflicted upon her body were nevertheless severe - Kim Phuc spent fourteen months in a hospital in Saigon and underwent seventeen surgical procedures for her injuries. 

The bombing was carried out by a South Vietnamese pilot who conducted the attack on what he mistakenly believed was a group of occupying enemy forces. This accidental attack killed four residents of Trảng Bàng, including two cousins of Kim Phuc. The horrifying result of the bombing shocked Ut, who afterward transported the injured civilians to a hospital in Saigon and kept in contact with Kim Phuc until his departure from Vietnam during the fall of Saigon in 1975. When Ut’s photograph appeared in the New York Times, President Nixon remarked to his chief of staff that the photo might have been “fixed”, to which Ut replied (when audiotapes of Nixon’s office conversations were released): “The photo was as authentic as the Vietnam War itself. The horror of the Vietnam War recorded by me did not have to be fixed.

Kim Phuc later attended the University of Havana, became a Canadian citizen, and established the Kim Foundation International, an organization dedicated to aiding child victims of war. 

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    Vietnam kids when the US napalm attacked
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