Burst of Joy

Sal Veder, Photographer

Sal Veder, Photographer

I was deeply struck by Sal Veder’s Pulitzer Prize–winning photo of the reunion of Vietnam POW Lt. Col. Robert L. Stirm with his wife and kids. My first glance filled me with joy — a soldier return five years after being shot down over Hanoi in 1967. Then I read the “back story” … and my heart became heavy. Three days before Stirm landed, a chaplain had handed him a Dear John letter from his wife.

Smithsonian Magazine Article: Coming Home

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