Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Pat Conroy: "Confessions of An American Coward"

Find some time to read this moving, candid, and courageous essay by a fine writer, Pat Conroy, to which The Anchoress directs us. Excerpt:

When I was demonstrating in America against Nixon and the Christmas bombings in Hanoi, Al and his fellow prisoners were holding hands under the full fury of those bombings, singing "God Bless America." It was those bombs that convinced Hanoi they would do well to release the American POWs, including my college teammate. When he told me about the C-141 landing in Hanoi to pick up the prisoners, Al said he felt no emotion, none at all, until he saw the giant American flag painted on the plane's tail. I stopped writing as Al wept over the memory of that flag on that plane, on that morning, during that time in the life of America.

It was that same long night, after listening to Al's story, that I began to make judgments about how I had conducted myself during the Vietnam War.
I was riveted. Maybe you will be too.

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