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View Diary: Morning Open Thread: The Napalm Girl and Her Photographer - Then and Now (91 comments)

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  •  If I get on my motorcycle this morning (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JaxDem, koNko

    ... and stay tonight on the Thai border, I can ride across the southern part of Laos, across the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and hit the border into Vietnam by tomorrow afternoon.

    I know this because I've done it several times, and each time I've hit a psychological wall at the Vietnamese border, turning around and heading north up through Laos to see friends, and tell them, once again, "not this time".

    I remember asking my mother when we first saw the picture of Kim Phuc "Will I have to go to Vietnam?" She said "I hope not", which I took as a yes. I just missed the draft by a year.

    When I later took to mountain climbing, I wanted to climb Mount Rainier, just like most kids in the northwest at some point or another. But I didn't feel like I could pay it proper respect before I climbed all the lesser volcanoes in the range. I did that, and when I set foot on the summit, it meant something.

    I've been all over southeast asia, can speak Lao, Thai, a little Khmer, and know how to navigate borders on a motorcycle, but I still can't cross that border. Fuck if I know why. I still don't feel like I have the right, that I've paid the dues, or whatever, in spite of reading all the books; Karnow, Halberstam, Robbins. I understand as much as can be understood by someone who hasn't been there yet.

    Sitting on a train from Krabi to Bangkok I overheard some dreadlocked  backpackers comparing notes: "Yeah, after we did Laos we knew we HAD to do 'Nam. Great coffee, but the weed doesn't compare to Phnom Penh."

    Seems like it must be easy.

    Seeing that new picture of Kim Phuc, and knowing the amazing story of her and Nick Ut's connection over the years makes me think it's time to give it another shot.

    That border remains a much steeper hill than Rainier.

    And after all, Hare did have a spare pair.

    by flaky draky on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 03:50:29 AM PDT

    •  Oh my. You must let us know (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      flaky draky, koNko

      if you do make it this time.  It would be amazing that by learning the "rest of the story" the final road block was removed.

      Thank you for sharing your intensely personal story.  Good travels, flaky draky.

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 04:33:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That I will, Jax. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koNko, JaxDem

        I've followed the story of Kim and Nick over the years, but had not seen the photo you posted, so thanks for that. It's beyond moving to know that she was able to build a rewarding life in spite of the raw horror she so publicly experienced. That she could give us two powerful messages from both extremes of the spectrum... no words.

        It's evening now and from my place I can see a large thunderhead to the west building over the Cambodian border. The monsoon is cranking up, and soon the roads through Laos will turn to Georgia red mud.

        Glad I've got knobbies.

        And after all, Hare did have a spare pair.

        by flaky draky on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 05:06:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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