A Flashback —

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Today I was transported back to 1969, a time in Southeast Asia full of then new sights, thoughts, fears, beauty, horrors, discipline and pain. This afternoon an elderly woman walked past me near the atrium where I was standing. In traditional white Vietnamese dress she stood about five feet tall, dark skinned, very thin, hair as black as night, except for some graying. I would guess her to be close to her eighties, but it is hard to tell. Walking slowly, expressionless, her high cheekbones and sunken eyes casting a stare, almost a smile. A look that in that time of desperation had always projected not feelings of hope but hate, hate for me because of what I was. A look that today in conjured up old feelings and old doubts. Though our eyes never met I was left with a feeling of sadness, not for her but for the time. We were both survivors. I had seen her face a thousand times when in my innocence I felt what I was doing was just. And now, my feelings were driven by a desire to talk with her. Given the chance I would have wanted to embrace her in the hope she might say, “it is all right.”_ABC3249