Peace Works Travel student travelers share how meeting Kim Phuc made their educational trip to Vietnam a life-changing experience.
(Fox News misspelling below). See the video clip here:
Kim Phuc, the Vietnam War’s iconic “napalm girl” featured in Nick Ut’s 1972 Pulitzer Prize-winning image, speaks to students of Brentwood School, Archer School, Westridge School and Polytechnic School. Students are moved by Kim’s message of loving kindness, peace, and forgiveness for a war-free world.
Kim speaks about the iconic image, the Vietnam War and her journey to forgiveness.
Kim speaks to students at Brentwood School.
Kim lets the students feel her arm where the napalm burned her 9-year-old skin in 1972.
Ms. Danjczek’s students pose with Kim.
Speaking to Brentwood Middle School students.
Claire’s introductory speech moved Kim to tears.
Kim and Brentwood students.
Brentwood Middle school teachers and administration thank Kim for a moving speech.
Brentwood students Asian Student-Alliance host a brownbag lunch with Kim.
A Brentwood student is moved to tears.
An Archer School student studies Nick Ut’s picture while listening to Kim’s talk.
Archer School Theater teacher Reed Farley holds a photo while Kim offers students a hopeful interpretation of the iconic imagery.
Nick Ut and Kim Phuc speak to students at Westridge School.
Kim Phuc honors “Uncle Ut” for his bravery as a wartime journalist. After capturing the iconic image of Kim’s napalm strike, he rushed Kim to the hospital and saved her life.
Westridge School students grades 7-12, teachers and parents are captivated by Kim and Nick’s stories.
|Alethea Tyner Paradis|
Phúc was only nine when the image was taken 41 years ago and now lives in Toronto. She described the event in an interview last year:
“Suddenly I saw fire around me and it burned my clothes. I was very scared and began to cry. I tried to run away from there…I ran and ran until I saw people in front of me. I felt very hot, thirsty and asked for help. They gave me water to drink and wet my body, and I lost consciousness.”
Here’s archival film footage of the moment when Ut took his photograph.
Francis Parker School – South to North – Day Three
Today was a very fun and eventful day. Our first major event was a visit to Kim Phuc’s family’s house. However, along the way our tour guide, Mr. Hao, was kind enough to tell us his life story. Like most Vietnamese citizens Mr. Hao was affected by the Vietnam War. He was forcibly enlisted in the Vietnamese army and fought in Cambodia against his father’s wishes. Their relationship was shattered by Hao’s service time and also their family’s house was confiscated. After the war was over, Hao rebuilt his relationship with his father, getting his father’s house back. Learning of Hao’s story taught us about the social turmoil after the Vietnam War from a soldier’s standpoint. Next we arrived at Kim Phuc’s house. We watched a documentary before meeting Kim’s sister-in-law. Kim Phuc, “the girl in the picture,” provided great insight into the path and power of reconciliation. She forgave all those who harmed and managed to transform the atrocities of her scars into a memorial for peace and hope.
After seeing Kim’s family, we visited the neighboring Cao Dai temple, which infused aspects of Confucianism, Taoism, Catholicism, and Buddhism. The four religions were combined through the architecture and orientation of religious service. The spiritual leaders of the Cao Dai emphasized the virtues of living a simple life in search for enlightenment.
We traveled to Cu Chi to see the network of underground tunnels used by the south during the war. We learned of the tunnels’ functions and how they supported the South Vietnamese against the Americans. We also watched a Northern Vietnamese propaganda video that presented a new perspective on the war through the eyes of a communist fighter. The tunnels were awe-inspiring to say the least. Inside the tunnels, there were complex designs consisting of planning rooms, smoke chimneys, air holes, and even underwater entrances. We crawled in an enlarged tunnel, which was fit for Americans. The original tunnels were barely large enough for us larger-framed Americans to crawl through.
The rest of the day consisted driving through the Mekong Delta and celebrated a chaperone’s birthday.
One week after meeting Kim Phuc at the Santa Barbara Airport and hearing her presentation at the Lobero Theatre, local students emailed us at Peace Works Travel to share their respect for Kim and tell us their impressions from the event. Here are a few we’d like to share:
Kim Phuc’s talk at the Lobero Theatre is tomorrow night, and earlier this week she spoke with the Santa Barbara Independent about her physical and emotional scars, her enduring friendship with photographer Nick Ut, and the message she would like the iconic image to tell. Read her interview here, and learn more about the upcoming event at the Lobero Theatre from one of our previous posts.
We’re honored to have Kim with us in Santa Barbara, and we look forward to seeing you at the Lobero tomorrow night!
A benefit reception and silent auction with Ms. Kim Phuc will be held in the Lobero Theater Courtyard following the event at 8:30 P.M.
Bill Morse, Director Cambodian Landmine Museum, Siem Reap
Briggs Boss, Sophomore, Thacher School
Stacy Serrette, Teacher and Dean of Student Life, Emma Willard School
Paul Rusesabagina, Real-life Hotel Rwanda hero who saved over 1200 people during the Rwandan genocide.
Shirley Hahn, Beverly Hills, California
The Santa Barbara Independent
Alex Greer, Junior, Laguna Blanca School
Kelly Bennett, history teacher, Santa Barbara Middle School
Alexandra Kall, Francis Parker School
Spencer Barr, English Teacher, Santa Barbara High School, California
Stacy Serrette, Director of Student Life, Emma Willard School
Eric Taylor, Francis Parker School, San Diego, California