From napalm to the manger: a Christmas message

Many of us will never forget the Pulitzer-prize winning photograph of 1972 from the Vietnam War: the little nine year old girl, naked, terrified, running with others away from the napalm bombs in the smoky background. That single photo helped carry the antiwar movement to victory. Little did we know then that she had horrible burns all over her back and would have died but for the efforts of the photojournalist. Napalm had been perfected for the bombings of Japanese cities near the end of World War II. It was used because the weather over Japan made precision high-altitude bombing ineffective and because the wooden Japanese houses would catch fire very easily. The American public saw no photos of the collateral damage.

To see the photo and gain a little background from the photographer, click here. The little girl, Kim Phuc, survived and, married with two children, is now living in the Toronto area. The Wall Street Journal a few days ago ran a brief article she wrote for Christmas. A link to it is here. I do not know if it is available to non-subscribers. Let me quote a few passages for those who cannot access it.

Those bombs have caused me immeasurable pain over the course of my life. …But even worse than the physical pain was the emotional and spiritual pain….I had so much hatred and bitterness in my heart.

Ten years after the bombing she attended a Christmas Eve service at a small Vietnamese church. The Pastor talked about God’s gift of himself for us, in the form of the child Jesus, born to die. She explains:

I knew in my heart that something was shifting inside of me….After years in the spiritual wilderness, I felt the kind of healing that can only come from God. I had spent so much of my life running – first from the bombs and the war, then from communist Vietnam .I had always assumed that to flee was my only choice. Looking back, I understand the path I had been racing along led me straight to God….my heart is 100% healed.

Kim concludes with a Christmas prayer for us:

No matter what type of pain or sorrow you may be experiencing, as Christmas approaches, I encourage you not to give up. Hold fast to hope. It is hope that will see you through. This peace I have found can be yours as well. I pray that it finds you this Christmas.   

Troglo (L. H. Kevil)

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