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Burst Of Joy

Written by: George Chittenden : 23 Oct 2019

This absolutely beautiful photo was taken on March 17th, 1973 at Travis Air Force Base in California and features an American pilot being united with his family after spending over five years in captivity in North Vietnam as a prisoner of war. The image was captured by Associated Press photographer Slava "Sal" Veder and it won the 1974 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography.

An American pilot reunited with his family after spending over five years in captivity

An American pilot reunited with his family after spending over five years in captivity

The pilot, Lt Col Robert L. Stirm was shot down over Hanoi on October 27th, 1967, while leading a bombing mission. This image became a symbol of the end of United States involvement in the Vietnam War, and a time when families could begin rebuilding. Interestingly this image, tells a different story if you dig a little deeper. Unfortunately for Lt Col Robert L. Stirm he learned of his wife’s multiple betrayals whilst he was in captivity. The couple divorced, and this image was given to all members of their family.

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