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Silent and Holy Night Respite in Vietnam

For most Americans, Vietnam was a pop-art oddity 12,000 miles away; for me, it was as real as the blood coursing through my veins and oozing onto the ground. A helter-skelter piece of a Chi-Com grenade had found its mark.

As I lay there in pain, watching my life's blood steal away into the earth, the phrase "ashes to ashes and dust to dust" brought a whole new reality into perspective for this 19-year-old man-child. As I felt myself about to slip away into the black realm of unconsciousness, the thoughts and memories of home seemed to envelop my whole being, and I found peace and solidarity in remembrances of a simpler time. I devoured this sense of tranquility like a ravished scavenger. Then, in the distance, I heard a voice yell, "Medic," and next I felt a hand on my shoulder. In a voice that would calm an angry sea, he said, "You're going to be fine, son." At that instant, I released myself to drift into sweet, sweet sleep.

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