I have carried the results of war on my body. You don’t grow out of the scars, physically or mentally. I am grateful now for the power of that photograph of me as a 9-year-old, as I am of the journey I have taken as a person. My horror — which I barely remember — became universal. I’m proud that, in time, I have become a symbol of peace. It took me a long time to embrace that as a person. I can say, 50 years later, that I’m glad Nick captured that moment, even with all the difficulties that image created for me.
That picture will always serve as a reminder of the unspeakable evil of which humanity is capable. Still, I believe that peace, love, hope and forgiveness will always be more powerful than any kind of weapon.
Note – On June 08, 1972 this photograph changed the way US citizens begin to see the Viet Nam War. The horrors of that war appeared via this photo on every tv screen and newspaper across America and the grass roots protests against the war became stronger.
People began to ask,”Why?” Just as they are doing in Russia today.
The image above and that of the second plane striking the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 are permanently engraved in my memory. I can not, not see them no matter how much I wish I could. They are constant reminders to me of man’s inhumanity to humanity. Man’s evil unto himself.
Señor Tao (April 17, 1948 -)