February 1 - 1968 - The Execution of Nguyễn Văn Lém
Nguyễn Văn Lém was a Viet Cong captain who was arrested by the South Vietnamese Army after leading a raid on a camp and killing a large number of civilians. Upon being taken in front of Brigadier General Nguyễn Ngọc Loan, Lém was summarily executed by Loan with a revolver. By all rights, this would have been one of many such incidents in the complicated conflict that was the Vietnam War. Yet the execution of Nguyễn Văn Lém became something the world knew about because the Associated Press photographer Eddie Adams managed to snap a picture at the moment the gun was fired. Nguyễn Văn Lém's face as he was dying was seen by millions, and the photograph became an iconic image of the Vietnam War. The photo would win Adams a Pulitzer and help galvanize the anti-Vietnam War movement in America. Adams would feel sorry for what became of Loan, while also regretting he was most well known for the image of the execution of Nguyễn Văn Lém.