Healing Vietnam Scars………Physically at Least


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Whenever I see this photo (lower right), and I’ve seen it many times, I am again horrified by the tragedy of Vietnam, by the brutality, sadness, and stupidity of it all.  I came of age as another baby-boomer during the late 1960’s,  but there was no way I’d let myself be drafted and go to Vietnam.  This photo takes people like me back to the day pretty fast.  I don’t like guns.  I would never kill anybody.

Nic Ut deservedly got a Pulitzer Prize for this harrowing 1972 photo of a nine year-old girl on fire after a napalm attack.  I remember I never bought Saran wrap back then.  Dow chemical made it and made napalm as well.

The only up part of the story of Kim Phuc, now 52, is what LA Times photographer Nic Ut did for her, and now a Miami dermatologist is doing for her.  Nic Ut took Kim to a local hospital, then cared for her for years after, helping her recover from her harrowing ordeal, helping her emigrate to Canada.

Now a Miami dermatologist, a physician who specializes in scar removal, is performing laser surgery gratis on the many scars that remain.  It reminds me a little of the American doctors who performed similar surgeries on the hibakusha victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Vietnam, the American War, was a war that should never have happened.  So many excuses, so much misinformation, beginning with the big lie about the attack on the USS Maddox.  Let Nic Ut and Dr. Jill Waibel of Miami be praised.   And let’s send our love and best wishes to Kim Phuc as well.

This is the recent feature on ABC, also published by various news organizations.  It tells the harrowing, of tragedy and healing as well.