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Angels of An Phong Orphanage

Her dark brown eyes broke my heart. Her toothy smile captured it.

She was so pretty, so attentive to her little brother, so much a little girl, yet old beyond her years.

I marveled at the inner spirit that sparked her smile ... so pure and sweet amid the filth and decay of that orphanage.

She could not have been more than 10 or 12 years old, yet I was captured and capitvated by her eyes.

Her gaze was direct, open and honest, and cut directly to my soul.

In that mean, hopeless world of daily death and desperation, she was a survivor.

I met her during a reporting trip to Vung Tau, South Vietnam in 1972. I took her picture, felt bad about it, and made up my mind to help.

I delivered a batch of stuff to the kids on a followup visit a month later, three large boxes from home ... toys, soap, diapers, candy, and a doll for my Angel of An Phong.

She will always be special ... an image etched on my mind, the innocent face of the Vietnam War.

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