Blast Of Joy Analysis

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The Pulitzer Prize winning photo entitled “Burst of Joy” became the classic homecoming photograph of the Vietnam Era, but was it truly a happy homecoming? The photo neglects to portray the pain and suffering that this family was experiencing. Although the family was very happy to be reunited, there are crucial details to this story that were not addressed in the media.
“On an overcast day in March 1973, Associated Press photographer Slava “Sal” Veder captured an image of a POW being greeted by his family.” The Vietnam War concluded with the Paris Peace Accords on January 27th 1973. Once U.S. troops began to withdraw, POW’s would be released and allowed to return home. In early 1973 Operation Homecoming started. From February 12th to April
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An Air Force chaplain handed him a “Dear John” letter. His wife Loretta told him that their relationship was over. “I have changed drastically–forced into a situation where I finally had to grow up,” the letter read in part. “Bob, I feel sure that in your heart you know we can’t make it together–and it doesn’t make sense to be unhappy when you can do something about it. Life is too short.” When he returned home, the couple tried to continue their marriage and work things out. Lorrie remembers “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.” Within a year, the couple divorced. Loretta took 140,000 of her husbands pay during the time he was a POW. She took his two younger kids, his house, his car, and 40% of his future pension. She had to pay back only $1500 of his money, that she spent on trips with other men. He fought and lost against her in…show more content…
Today, they all have the photograph displayed in their homes…. Except Robert. “I have several copies of the photo but don’t display it in the house” Stirm said. “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.” Stirm’s main issue with the photograph is not “the situation in which it was created” - the return of a POW who endured pain and suffering for more than five years- but of the woman pictured in it. “In some ways, it’s hypocritical, because my former wife had abandoned the marriage within a year or so after I was shot down,” Stirm recounts. “And she didn’t even have the honor and integrity to be honest with the kids. She lived a lie. This picture does not show the realities that she had accepted proposals of marriage from three different men. . . . It portrays (that) everybody there was happy to see me.” The four children see the photograph from a different perspective. Each child has the picture mounted in their house. “We have this very nice picture of a very happy moment” Lorrie says, “but every time I look at it, I remember the families that weren’t reunited, and the ones that aren’t being reunited today—many, many families—and I think, I’m one of the lucky
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