In the years that have passed, I have often thought about those days on the intensive care ward and about that young Vietnamese man, my “enemy,” who lay in that hospital bed across from me, and how we are all perhaps much closer to each other as brothers and sisters on this Earth than we realize. Despite all our differences, there is, I believe, a powerful connectedness to our humanity—a deep desire to reach out with kindness, with love and great caring toward each other, even to our supposed enemies, and to bring forth “the better angels of our nature”—that is undeniable and cannot be extinguished, even in death.
This, I believe, is the hope of the world. This is the faith we now need in these times.
In the years that followed, I would attempt to write about the war and about that long and often difficult journey home, trying to give meaning to what I and so many others had gone through. There would be other profound moments of reconciliation and forgiveness to come, but almost always my mind would drift back to that young Vietnamese man who laid across from me for those few brief days on the Da Nang intensive care ward in 1968.
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