Girl from AP’s Vietnam napalm photo finds peace with her role in history

I found an interesting story from The Guardian (U.K).   Most of us, of a certain age, remember this photo.

Girl from AP’s Vietnam napalm photo finds peace with her role in history

When photographer Nick Ut snapped the Pulitzer-winning image of Kim Phuc, neither knew what the next 40 years had in store.

Click here for her story:

Girl from AP’s Vietnam napalm photo finds peace with her role in history | Media | guardian.co.uk.

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Letters Santa Missed — Read This!

Every December, for the past 15 years, an acting coach has honored two children whose notes to Santa Claus he found stuffed in his fireplace in his New York City apartment.  The 100-year old notes, written in children’s scrawl, were found during a renovation project. They hint at the poverty and hardships of a former Irish neighborhood in Manhattan 100-years ago.  The existence of the letters themselves is not remarkable.  The story they tell us, is.

Click Here: A Chimney’s Poignant Surprise: Letters Santa Missed, Long Ago – The New York Times

 

Poetic Justice

There has been some controversy since last November over the possible role foreign journalists may have played in influencing the last US presidential election. The election of November 8, 2016 caused a major change in the direction of government here in the USA. Some writers have called it a revolution by the electorate.

The man in the photo is John Reed, an American journalist from Portland, Oregon. Reed was a larger than life figure who arrived in Petrograd, Russia a few months in advance of the Great October Revolution. The October Revolution concluded on November 7, 1917 according the Gregorian Calendar. It’s centennial is tomorrow.

Reed was a vocal advocate of proletarian revolution in both Russia and in the USA. In addition to writing about the events of November 1917, he even picked up a rifle, and joined Red Guards in securing parts of Petrograd for the Bolsheviks. The Bolshevik victory succeeded in overthrowing the Russian Provisional Government which then ushered in 74 years of Soviet rule.

Reed’s best known work is “10 Days That Shook The World,” a book which described the events leading up to Russia’s October Revolution. It impressed Vladimir Lenin enough that he later wrote an enthusiastic forward which was included in subsequent editions. The book is still in print.

For his service to revolution and international socialism, John Reed is one of three Americans given the honor of burial at the Kremlin Wall right next to Lenin’s Tomb on Red Square. If anything really happened to sway the outcome of last November, certain parties might consider it to be poetic justice.

Thank you, Emily Helman. My Daughter for a Day

I’ve become aware of something called National Daughter’s Day which is September 25th, apparently.  I don’t have any daughters, so it’s a day of recognition that has never appeared on my personal calendar. I reflected on that a little bit this morning, and remembered I did have a daughter once — for a few hours.

It happened as I began a business trip sometime in the mid ’90s. I had just boarded a flight out of Washington to a layover point in the midwest which I think was Chicago. As I came aboard the jet, I made my way down to my assigned seat, and found a little girl sitting there. She was perhaps six or seven years old. It looked like the girl had boarded on a previous leg, and was continuing to the next destination. Both seats on that side were full of her scattered things, among which was a coloring book, some pencils, a CD player, a jacket, and a bag.  I said, “hello there, I think you’re in my seat”. Whereupon she stood up and slid down to the floor, then began pushing her stuff over to the empty window seat.  We sat down, and she politely asked me in a small voice, “Can we switch seats?  I don’t like the window.”  I agreed to move, and we changed places with her pushing that small mountain of stuff back towards the aisle seat again.  As she did this, she remarked to me, “thanks, sometimes I have to negotiate with people”. I thought to myself, “she’s a very bright and articulate girl, this flight could be interesting”.

The plane took off, and I noticed she firmly gripped the armrest with white knuckles. Once airborne, I saw that she was very good at keeping herself occupied. There was a woman on the opposite side who kept glancing at her, and I asked the girl if she was her mother. She told me no, her mother was not aboard, nor was her father.  She indicated that she was traveling alone. She added that her parents were divorced, and she was a frequent traveler because her parents lived a great distance apart.  I think she told me her mother lived in the Midwest, perhaps the Chicago area, and inferred that her father was somewhere back east. After so many years, I now forget those details. I nodded, and thought to myself how sad it all was. I was sitting next to an unaccompanied minor, who was being chaperoned by the airline, as she shuttled back and forth between her divorced parents to be delivered like a FedEx parcel.

We had a very nice conversation on that flight. I learned that she was afraid of flying, and didn’t like to look out the window. She read me a book, and we read two others together. She showed me her entire Barbie CD collection. The stewardess came by to check on her once, knelt down, and asked if she needed anything.  Towards the end of the flight, she asked if she could draw me a picture and I said, “sure”.  She drew a scene with her parents, and herself, a house, and a tree — in colored pencil.  She gave me the drawing, and I declared it a work of art.  I said, “all art deserves the artist’s signature, sign your name to it.” — so she did.

Once the plane was on the ground, people stood up waiting to exit.  The girl indicated she needed to use the lavatory and then disappeared aft by pushing her way through the crowd in a way that only little people can manage. The woman asked me, “she’s so sweet, is she your daughter?”.  I told her the truth.   Everyone was as surprised as I was.  I disembarked with all the other passengers, and never saw her again. I still think about her from time to time knowing that she must now be in her mid to late twenties.

The picture she drew for me hung in my office for years until it eventually disintegrated. Thank you Emily Helman. For a few hours you entered my life, and became the daughter I never had.

Easter Rising

I just checked the calendar. I was too busy to remember St. Patrick’s Day, but remembered that today is Easter in the Christian west.  I was also reminded that tomorrow marks 100-years since the “Easter Rising” in Dublin, Ireland which actually began on Easter Monday, 24 April, 1916.
Early that morning, Irish republicans seized key installations in Dublin, and proclaimed an Irish Republic. The British government, busy fighting World War 1, was not amused. The British Army suppressed the rebellion in about a week using heavy-handed measures including firing field artillery into populated areas, incendiaries, and lynching 17-year olds from lamp posts in Dublin city.
Almost all the republican leaders were captured, faced court-martials, whereupon most were hanged.  They remain buried together in a common grave behind the Dublin’s main prison. Six years later, much of Ireland was granted independence by the British crown after more than 700 years of direct English rule.