Grown-up ‘napalm girl’ pens memoir about Vietnam

Josh K. Elliott,

Published Tuesday, October 3, 2017 10:36AM EDT

A photo may speak a thousand words, but the girl from one of history’s most iconic photos has a lot more than 1,000 words to share about how she became known as the Vietnamese “napalm girl.”

Kim Phuc Phan Thi, who as a child was photographed running naked from a napalm attack in Vietnam, says her new book “Fire Road” is meant to encourage peace.

Phuc Phan Thi was only nine-years-old when she was famously photographed in a moment of extreme pain and terror on June 8, 1972, naked and crying as she fled an attack in Vietnam. The Associated Press photographer Nick Ut snapped the Pulitzer Prize-winning image, then put his camera aside and swept Phuc Phan Thi up in his arms before taking her to hospital for treatment.

“He saved my life,” Phuc Phan Thi told CTV’s Your Morning on Tuesday. She says she maintains a relationship with the photographer, whom she now calls Uncle Ut. “He’s my hero.”

Phuc Phan Thi says hospital staff expected her to die, and even went so far as to send her to the morgue. But Phuc Phan Thi clung to life, and was ultimately reunited with her parents in the same morgue where doctors had expected her to die.

She says she feels “sad” that she had to face such hardship, but she’s also proud of the photo that came out of it.

“I can work with it for peace,” said Phuc Phan Thi, who is now a mother.

“I’d never let the same thing happen to my child.”

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