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And this is a day to remember another war - one frozen fraction of a second of it. That's the amount of time that it took to snap a memorable photograph in Vietnam. It's also the amount of time it took for a bullet to travel a few inches from a gun barrel to a prisoner's head.


Forty years ago today, Associated Press photographer Eddie Adams was covering the Vietnam War. He was taking pictures of the Tet Offensive. It was an attack by communist guerrillas against South Vietnam's cities.

MONTAGNE: Adams watched as South Vietnamese forces allied with the U.S. captured a prisoner in Saigon. Adam snapped a famous photo of that prisoner. In the picture, the man wears a plaid shirt. He stands with his hands tied behind his back. A South Vietnamese officer is aiming a pistol at the prisoner's head, and the photo captures that instant as the trigger is pulled.

INSKEEP: That photo, 40 years ago, became one of the enduring images of the brutality of war. The photo was published around the world. It went into history books. It's available at

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