John Filo, a student at Kent State University, in 1970 snapped a photograph of an anguished Mary Ann Vecchio kneeling over the body of one of four students killed by the National Guard during demonstrations there. The photo won a Pulitzer Prize for Filo and became the emblem of the anti-Vietnam War movement, but the photographer and the subject never met until last weekend.
They were brought together at a conference at Emerson College in Boston commemorating the 25th anniversary of the uprisings at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, and Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss., over the U.S. invasion of Cambodia."It was finally time for us to meet," said Mary Ann Vecchio Gillum, who was a 14-year-old runaway from Miami at the time and who now uses her married name. "It was my destiny that I go there, but I had no idea my picture was being taken."
She said that after it appeared around the country, "I was terrified of the police and the government, so I went underground for several weeks."
She agreed to a newspaper interview in return for a bus ticket to California, but, she said, "The police showed up, took me into custody and sent me home."
After that, "I couldn't function," she said. "I kind of rambled until I met my husband, Joe Gillum." The couple moved to Las Vegas, where she is a cashier in the Sahara Hotel coffee shop.
Filo, 46, now the deputy picture editor at Newsweek magazine, said that the encounter brought a sense of relief and closure.
"I always worried about this person," he said. "I placed this child under a microscope for a long, long time and caused her immense difficulty. I am so happy that she is now happy."