Social media often gives the world a window into chaotic and dangerous events, with viral photos emerging and spreading in real time during crises, inspiring the masses along the way.
In the case of Hurricane Harvey, there has been a plethora of gripping images, though one firmly stands out.
The picture — which shows a police officer rescuing a mother and her son — has been used over and over again to show the resilience, love and sacrifice that Texans are exhibiting in the midst of a debilitating and deadly storm.
The image of Catherine Pham and her 13-month-old baby Aiden was captured, among others, by Associated Press photographer David Phillip, who later told his employer how he came to snap the now iconic photo.
— Michael Hamtil (@mhamtil) August 28, 2017
“I was just keeping an eye out and as soon as I saw the SWAT team member carrying her and then seeing the baby, I just couldn’t believe that baby was wrapped up in there and not crying,” Phillip said of the scene captured in the image. “It was just tender. It was very special.”
Phillip’s photo, which shows officer Daryl Hudeck carrying mother and son through the floodwaters on Sunday, along with at least one other snapped by a local photographer, has been used in memes celebrating the American spirit, as the nation deals with fallout from the hurricane.
Pham and her son were rescued from their flooded family home along with her husband, Troy Pham, and a neighbor. The group was staying on the second story of the house after the first floor was flooded with more than two feet of water, The Dallas Morning News reported.
As the waters rose, Troy Pham took his kayak down the street, where he found Houston SWAT team members and got help for his family.
“We were waiting for daylight to try to get out, but by that point the water kept rising and rising and it was unsafe to even try to get out [by truck],” Troy Pham later told the Dallas Morning News.
The rescue of his wife as she held Aiden has inspired some powerful memes:
Catherine Pham later took to Facebook to share her gratitude for her family’s safety.
“We are so thankful that God was looking over us today!” she wrote, according to the AP.
Another photo of the scene that was captured by Dallas Morning News photographer Louis DeLuca was carried around the globe as well.