Kim and Nick are well acquainted with war. Vietnam, 8 June 1972: fire on the village of Trang Bàng, 25 miles (40 km) west of Saigon. Napalm bombs rain down from the sky. With his camera Nick Ut captures the desperation of the young Kim Phúc Pahn Thi, surrounded by napalm, her clothes dissolved by the acid. That photograph became one of the 20th century’s most iconic.
Nearly half a century later, they are both in Saint Peter’s Square, Kim and Nick, with Pope Francis. To tell him that war is folly and to give him a signed copy of that photograph that, for nearly 50 years, has been saying “no to war”.
A “no to war” that has been taken up by the Holy Father, who at his General Audience, showed his support to two women experiencing the horrors of war, not in Vietnam, but in Ukraine.
Kim, now 59, tells the Pope, “We do not want war but peace, because the world needs peace”. Nick, 71, recalls how, after taking the picture that morning in Vietnam, he dropped everything to help Kim and many other children escape the destruction and get to a hospital.