JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004 Page: 261
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The Girl in the Photograph: The Vietnam War
and the Making of National Memory
Nancy K. Miller
Sunt lacrimae rerum...
I am the snow that burns.
Wherever men send me to fall-
but I prefer it in black, and seek the bone.
The photograph of Kim Phuc, the so-called Napalm Girl, that appeared
in newspapers during the last years of the Vietnam War-June 9, 1972 to
be precise-shocked the world and still stands as one of the war's central
icons. The horrifying image of a nine-year-old South Vietnamese girl
running naked down a road away from an American napalm strike, her
child's body on fire, her arms outstretched, her face contorted in pain,
captured international attention. The photograph, which won a Pulitzer
Prize and made the wounded child a symbol of the human capacity for
atrocity, belongs to a small number of iconic images that have come to
represent the horrors of the war's casualties-and, indeed, of war itself.
Kim Phuc, however, survived the devastating burns inflicted by napalm.
More than two decades later, living in Canada, she became famous again
in the mid- 1990s through a second photograph and a speaking appearance
on Veteran's Day at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1996. This new
photograph of Kim as the mother of an infant son, as well as her own
repeated commentary on it, relocates her in the culture of trauma and
testimony that has grown more and more powerful in the United States
jac 24.2 (2004)
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Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition (U.S.). JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004, periodical, 2004; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28644/m1/7/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .