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War Photographer Prose

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"Come on Alfie! Hurry up!" yelled Terry, a short pot-bellied chap with a glistening bald head and exaggerated sideburns that passed his ears. This is the guy I would be working on a project with for some time. "We're gonna miss this goddam plane if you don't get a move on!" "Alright, Alright I'm coming!" I bellowed back. There I was, roughly 15 hours away from a place that half the earth's population couldn't even begin to imagine what it feels like to live there. "God dammit Alfie! If you don't keep up we are seriously going to miss this plane!" at that moment I felt like dropping my luggage and running five miles in the opposite direction, but I knew it was too late for that; the flight was paid for and the contract was signed. Why didn't Terry feel distressed like me at the thought of the danger ahead? Why wasn't he feeling any guilt? Keep going Alfie I thought to myself it's no big deal, just get it done and take the money, it'll be over in a few weeks, then you can go back to your normal life. ...read more.


"New York." I answered. "You don't look like a GI...what's your business in Vietnam?" grunted a second GI. "I'm a photographer." I said "Gonna be flying somewhere near Hanoi early tomorrow morning, what's it to you anyways?" "I ain't asking for no trouble, just asking alright?" he answered "Yeah...sorry, what's been going on today then?" I asked "Well we've just got back from Dien Bien Phu, which is on the border of North Vietnam. Boy we've taken some crap today." "Really?" I said. "Yeah...not a pretty sight, I'm sick of seeing death everywhere, not too good a feeling, or smell to start off with, but you get used to it after a few weeks." explained the third GI sitting at the bar. "I think I can imagine." I replied. The guys started talking amongst themselves again, so after that brief conversation with them, I had a couple more beers and went up to bed. "Terry, Terry you awake yet?" I asked "Yeah I'll be up in a bit" Terry replied grumpily. ...read more.


Terry and I immediately ran over to help and finally we were all aboard the helicopter much to the pilot's relief. Within seconds we were back in the sky with a stream of shells and machine gun fire following us. Everybody was ordered to hit the deck as bullets passed through the fuselage of the aircraft. Three hours later we arrived at Saigon Airport with an ambulance waiting to take the injured to Saigon Hospital. Lying in bed on a beautiful Sunday morning in Virginia in the year1972, thinking back to those days sitting in the hospital waiting for news on how Ha`ng and little Tuyen, the Vietnamese family who we'd rescued back in 1968, were getting on. A nurse greeting Terry and I in the waiting room telling us they would be fit and ready to go home in a few days. The only trouble was, they had no home to go back to. But here I am now and my bedroom door opens, in walks my beautiful little girl clutching her mother's hand singing Happy Birthday Daddy. She runs over and jumps onto the bed and gives me a big kiss as I say "Thank you for remembering Tuyen!" ...read more.

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