Tuesday, 17 March 2020


Captured by Pulitzer Prize winning Associated Press photographer Slava “Sal” Veder on this day in 1973, the moment of reunion on the tarmac at Travis Air Force Base in California between a just released US prisoner of war, held for five and half years in Hanoi, and his family—captioned Burst of Joy—came to symbolize the beginning of the end of the US aggression in Vietnam and signaled the time for healing and reconciliation to start.
Among the first soldiers to be redeployed in Operation Homecoming, the spontaneous, happy image belies a grim reality, like the war itself (see previously)—there being nothing redemptive to the latter tragedy even in terms of good optics, with the marriage on the verge of collapse due to the stress of the soldier’s confinement and infidelities and reflects its opposite side as well with all the lives of Vietnamese and Americans that were beyond restoration. The couple reunited under orders, it was later revealed.