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Play balls

“Westy [General and former Eagle Scout William C. Westmoreland] at the Cercle Sportif, playing his last tennis game, at the end lining up the little Vietnamese urchins who had served as ball boys, street-tough from some of the meanest streets in the world, unlikely candidates for Eagle Scouts, learning the black-market rate before they learned arithmetic, knowing even before they reached their teens the full glory of East-West decadence. Westy lining them up as if in company formation, telling an American who had played with him to translate. ‘You have been my ball boys.’ Nods of their heads. ‘You have served well. You have been faithful.’ More nods of heads. ‘I would like to reward you.’ Nods. Expectant smiles. The tip. ‘Here is your reward. You may have all my tennis balls.’ Looks of immense disappointment.” – David Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest (emphasis in original)

Published inDavid HalberstamEconomicsPolitics & LawThe Vietnam War

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