On March 17, the plane landed at Travis Air Force Base in California.

“I was very pleased to see my children—I loved them all and still do, and I know they had a difficult time—but there was a lot to deal with.” Lorrie says, “So much had happened—there was so much that my dad missed out on—and it took a while to let him back into our lives and accept his authority.” Her parents were divorced within a year of his return. Loathsome creature. And even though some us stand at a distance, we are the children running to embrace a loved one returning home. ”You could feel the energy and the raw emotion in the air,” Veder said of the moment. How do you learn to discover joy even in the midst of sadness? It captures the heart of America in raw form. Both remarried six months after their divorce. She sees a father coming home, a man who will one day be a grandfather to her children. Maybe he was an abusive jerk before leaving for Vietnam. Lorrie Stirm Kitching, the girl with open arms in the picture, does not see her parents’ failed marriage in the photo. [6] Stirm was later promoted to full Colonel and retired from the Air Force in 1977. A picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes the words are not as accurate as the actual image captured. [5], The photograph depicts United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Robert L. Stirm being reunited with his family, after spending more than five years in captivity as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. She was responsible for not just raising four kids, but housework, the upkeep of the home, cars, and yard, and probably pets as well. All eyes were glued to the soldiers, except for Veder who noticed a girl jumping out of a van. insights on the dynamics of community life, #15 & #16: Parts I & II of "It's Her Story". The family story it was telling was of the United States. The war which could not be won was over.

Father stares at the hand and foot of his five-year-old, severed as a punishment for failing to make the daily rubber quota, Belgian Congo, 1904, Adolf Hitler's eye color in a rare color photo, The headquarters of Mussolini's Italian Fascist Party, 1934, The 100 most influential historical pictures of all time, Samuel Reshevsky, age 8, defeating several chess masters at once in France, 1920, Apollo program astronauts training in Arizona for the Moon missions, 1960s, The Solvay Conference, probably the most intelligent picture ever taken, 1927. Stirm was shot down over Hanoi on October 27, 1967, while leading a flight of F-105s on a bombing mission, and was not released until March 14, 1973. The picture also reminds Lorrie of the soldiers who did not come home. [3], Lieutenant Colonel Robert L. Stirm, USAF, made a speech[4] "on behalf of himself and other POWs who had arrived from Vietnam as part of Operation Homecoming. The families who did not get a reunion like hers. The war which tore a nation in two was coming to an end. She was banking on his not coming home. It would only seem like the right thing to do. They were together for a year following return.

I am sorry that I didn't keep in touch more after I moved to Austin.

"[5], Donald Goldstein, a retired Air Force colonel and a co-author of a prominent Vietnam War photojournalism book, The Vietnam War: The Stories and The Photographs, says of Burst of Joy, "After years of fighting a war we couldn't win, a war that tore us apart, it was finally over, and the country could start healing. Photographer, "Sal" Veder was standing in the photographers' pit at Travis Air Force Base in California as the POWs made their way off the plane. He married and was divorced again. The picture also reminds Lorrie of the soldiers who did not come home. Despite outward appearances, the reunion was an unhappy one for Stirm.

All content Copyright @ 2015-2018. [4] Smithsonian Magazine says that "In less than half an hour, Veder and his AP colleague Walt Zeboski had developed six remarkable images of that singular moment. It’s so easy to sit back and judge others, but how might someone behave, when they hear their husbands war plane was shot down? Another account about this story (taken from a newspaper): [7], After Burst of Joy was announced as the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, all of the family members depicted in the picture received copies. His wife took 140,000 of his pay while he was a POW, took his two younger kids, house, car, 40% of his future pension, and $300 a month in child support.

Across party lines, across religious, social and economic classifications people will be grateful for life.

All depicted children display it prominently in their homes except for Colonel Stirm himself, who says he cannot bring himself to display the picture. The families who did not get a reunion like hers. Within hours, Veder’s image was on the cover of most newspapers across the country and earned him a Pulitzer Prize. Three decades after the Stirm reunion, the scene, having appeared in countless books, anthologies and exhibitions, remains part of the nation’s collective consciousness, often serving as an uplifting postscript to Vietnam.



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