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Testify

“They would ask you with an emotion whose intensity would shock you to please tell it, because they really did have the feeling that it wasn’t being told for them, that they were going through all of this and that somehow no one back in the World knew about it. They may have been a bunch of dumb, brutal killer kids (a lot of correspondents privately felt that), but they were smart enough to know that much. There was a Marine in Hue who had come after me as I walked toward the truck that would take me to the airstrip, he’d been locked in that horror for nearly two weeks while I’d shuttled in and out for two or three days at a time. We knew each other by now, and when he caught up with me he grabbed my sleeve so violently that I thought he was going to accuse me or, worse, try to stop me from going. His face was all but blank with exhaustion, but he had enough feeling left to say, ‘Okay, man, you go on, you go on out of here you cocksucker, but I mean it, you tell it! You tell it, man. If you don’t tell it . . .’ ”– Michael Herr, Dispatches

Published inMichael HerrThe Vietnam War

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