Christmas in Sa Dec

Reader Daniel Aronstein has sent us the link to this passage from John Kerry’s Vietnam journal published in the Boston Globe. Aronstein notes: “Christmas (the only one he spent in Vietnam) was spent in Sa Dec — according to Kerry’s diary (see last line).” The last two paragraphs of the excerpt from Kerry’s typewritten journal read as follows:

You head back towards Sa Dec to make your report while transiting the night darkness is broken by tracers flying up out of a Vietnamese outpost that is celebrating Christmas. The bullets pass dangerously near your boat and you think of the stupidity of the whole thing and the ridiculous waste of being shot at by your own allies and so angry you jump on the radio and ask who the hell is shooting at you and inform your seniors that they had better squared away before you return fire. Apologies are quick to (unable to read) but they mean nothing amidst all the chaos and waste.
It’s cool now and the evening has closed around you to become full night. The night for once is comforting and you take a coke and some peanut butter and jelly and go up on the roof of the cabin whit your tape recorder and sit for a while, quietly, watching flares float silently through the sky and flashes announce disquieting intent somewhere in the distance. You call down to one of your men and ask him to draft a message to the Admiral in Command of all Naval Forces in Vietnam and also to the Commander of Market Time. IT says “Merry Christmas from the most inland Market Time unit.” You hope that they’ll court marshal you or something because that would make sense. But the night soothes everything and the people and things that are close to you dart through the mind and bring the only warmth and peace that there is. Visions of sugar plums really do dance through your head and you think of stockings and snow and roast chestnuts and fires with birch logs and all that is good and warm and real. It’s Christmas Eve.

Our Northern Alliance colleague Edward Morrissey has more over at Captain’s Quarters in “Christmas in Cambodia, Part II: Not without my shipmates,” in “Christmas in Cambodia, Part III: Time flies,” and in “Christmas in Camgodia, Part IV: Patrol or tourist?”

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