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Vietnam: The Real War

By Jane Hwang - 2013-10-08T14:55:40Z

Photograph by Malcolm Browne

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At left, in the first of a series of fiery suicides by Buddhist monks, Thich Quang Duc burns himself to death in Saigon to protest persecution by South Vietnam, on June 11, 1963. 

“You could tell from his expression that he was in terrible pain, but he never cried out. And he burned for, oh, I suppose, ten minutes or so; it seemed like an eternity ... A fire truck arrived and tried to get through the circle, but a couple of the monks dashed under the front wheels and lay down on the pavement, so that it could advance only by rolling over them, and all this while I was taking pictures of course. The only thing that sort of keeps you going in war or in times of crisis like that is having something to  do..." —Malcolm Browne, from an interview with Hal Buell, April 21, 1998, for the AP Corporate Archives Oral History Program.

With this photo on his desk, President John F. Kennedy remarked to his ambassador, “We’re going to have to do something about that regime.”