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The Long Road to Forgiveness - Kim Phuc

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Forgiveness is at the heart of things for a lot of us here, yes? Here is a short essay by Kim Phuc that you may like.


Kim Phuc is best known as the little Vietnamese girl in this picture:

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Here is my source for the essay, and a picture of that little girl now:

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All Things Considered, June 30, 2008 · On June 8, 1972, I ran out from Cao Dai temple in my village, Trang Bang, South Vietnam; I saw an airplane getting lower and then four bombs falling down. I saw fire everywhere around me. Then I saw the fire over my body, especially on my left arm. My clothes had been burned off by fire.


I was 9 years old but I still remember my thoughts at that moment: I would be ugly and people would treat me in a different way. My picture was taken in that moment on Road No. 1 from Saigon to Phnom Penh. After a soldier gave me some drink and poured water over my body, I lost my consciousness.


Several days after, I realized that I was in the hospital, where I spent 14 months and had 17 operations.


It was a very difficult time for me when I went home from the hospital. Our house was destroyed; we lost everything and we just survived day by day.


Although I suffered from pain, itching and headaches all the time, the long hospital stay made me dream to become a doctor. But my studies were cut short by the local government. They wanted me as a symbol of the state. I could not go to school anymore.


The anger inside me was like a hatred as high as a mountain. I hated my life. I hated all people who were normal because I was not normal. I really wanted to die many times.


I spent my daytime in the library to read a lot of religious books to find a purpose for my life. One of the books that I read was the Holy Bible.


In Christmas 1982, I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior. It was an amazing turning point in my life. God helped me to learn to forgive — the most difficult of all lessons. It didn't happen in a day and it wasn't easy. But I finally got it.


Forgiveness made me free from hatred. I still have many scars on my body and severe pain most days but my heart is cleansed.


Napalm is very powerful but faith, forgiveness and love are much more powerful. We would not have war at all if everyone could learn how to live with true love, hope and forgiveness.


If that little girl in the picture can do it, ask yourself: Can you?


This essay was produced by Anne Penman for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. NPR's This I Believe is independently produced by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman with John Gregory and Viki Merrick.







Personally, I do not follow any particular religion nor does that aspect of her journey hold any particular positive meaning for me.


Yet that almost doesn't matter, and it is not why I am posting this. It's now how each of might get there; it's that we find a way to do it.


It's an incredible story, and amazing to me that this woman could find the strength to forgive.


Her challenge is a good one. Inspirational.


So thank you for reading, and I hope everyone who felt drawn to read it may find the peace and forgiveness they seek. tc.

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I remember Kim Phuc.


Imagine a drop of sizzling, flaming plastic landing on your neck, arm or stomach. Now multiply that pain by a thousand. At nine years old. It's beyond my comprehension.


And the injustice done to her body was just the beginning, was the easier part of her horrific ordeal to cope with. She was even more scarred in a way that the best surgeons could not begin to help.


Yet she somehow overcame hatred "as high as a mountain" and has found true peace, even though no one was punished for what happened to her and to her village and men still continue to make war as though the lives of innocent children don't account for a thing. How did she manage that? It boggles the mind.


I will remember Kim Phuc.

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