Phan Thị Kim Phúc, known as "the girl in the picture", international peace symbol and global peace ambassador, came to Richmond's The Way Community Church to share her personal stories of survival from atrocities of Vietnam War.
The famous photograph taken by Nick Ut (AP) showing a naked girl running desperately soon after she was severely burned during a napalm attack, shocked the world early in June 1972. Some accounts claim it helped to end the war, some - like former president Nixon - claimed by saying, "napalm thing... was a fix". The picture brought Nick Ut a Pulitzer award.
The photographer helped Kim with water and rushed her to the hospital and practically saved her life when she was a girl of 9. Phan Thị Kim Phúc now lives in Toronto and was a guest speaker of The Way Richmond's Community Church to share her story of survival from the war 40 years ago.
A girl in the picture, Phan Thị Kim Phúc, 40 years later in The Way Richmond Community Church, Richmond, BC.
She not only recovered from physical wounds but also from mental trauma that war normally brings with it. Kim stunned the public of the church with her personal stories of how her body recovered from pain soon after the napalm attack, long process of recovery after 17 operations she underwent (last one done in Germany in 1986) and her mind evolving from seeing herself as a victim of war to total forgiveness to those who made her a victim of war in the beginning of life.
Phan Thị Kim Phúc sharing her stories of survival in The Way Richmond Community Church, Richmond, BC.
Kim mentioned several times how the notion of hope, love and compassion helped her to survive and how she was relieved when she finally met those who inflicted the wounds on her (directly or indirectly) when she said to them at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC, "God bless you!" Kim shared her experiences and stories from the time when she started to study the Bible to personal glimpses from her family life, studies of medicine in Cuba and her final way to Canada in 1992.
Phan Thị Kim Phúc, a girl in the (famous) picture during the speech in Richmond, BC.
Kim's speech was illustrated with a short video about her life and involvement in charity projects in Uganda. After the speech, Kim was signing her book "The Girl in the Picture" written by Denise Chong and published in 1999.