This year marks 40 years since the fall of Saigon – a time where helicopters carried away the last Americans, marking the final chapter of the United States’ involvement in the conflict.
To many, the conflict is etched in our memories thanks to one iconic photo taken 43 years ago.
In a moment captured by photographer Nick Ut, Kim Phuc was shown screaming as she ran naked down the road, having stripped off her clothes to rid herself of the poison on her skin. From that moment on she was known as the “napalm girl.”
It was a photo Kim originally loathed. The personal moment of agony captured for the whole world to see. But soon after she had a profound realization: if that moment hadn’t been captured, the world may not have seen the wartime horrors of Vietnam.
She now embraces the picture. It has become a “path to peace,” a tool she can use to spread her message of of strength, compassion and forgiveness. Kim has traveled around the world to spread her message of peace and healing with an unwavering commitment to her cause. She has the remarkable ability to move past all that she has gone through in order to derive a positive message from so much pain. Audiences are inspired by her positive attitude when she explores the power of forgiveness.
Kim has wholeheartedly embraced the role of humanitarian; taking on the position of goodwill ambassador for UNESCO, as well as being a member of the advisory board for the World Children’s Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Kim was also inspired to start her own charity: The Kim Foundation International. Her non-profit charity provides medical and psychological assistance to children affected by war.
In recognizing the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, Kim was recently featured on an episode of CNN’s “Rewind: Where are they now?:
“Whatever happened to me, I have another opportunity to be alive, to be healthful, to be a blessing, to help honor other people.”