Slava “Sal” Veder was working for the Associated Press when he covered the return of Lieutenant Colonel Robert L. Stirm at Travis Air Force Base in California. Stirm had been held as a prisoner of war by the North Vietnamese for more than five years. He was greeted on the tarmac by his 15-year-old daughter (center) and the rest of his family. The photograph truly captured a moment of joy as his daughter rushed to see the father she had lost more than five years earlier.
When the Burst of Joy photographer was chosen to receive the Pulitzer Prize in 1974, copies of the picture were made and sent to each family member in the photograph. Now adults, the children display their copies proudly in their homes.[
Unseen in the picture is the anguish felt by Stirm who had received a “Dear John” letter only three days before he arrived. He and his wife divorced within a year, but the photograph stands as a beautiful depiction of a soldier returning from war to a loving family.