Bob Stokes of Newsweek told me this: In the big Marine hospital in Danang they have what is called the "White Lie Ward," where they bring some of the worst cases, the ones who can be saved but will never be the same again. A young Marine was carried in, still unconscious and full of morphine, and his legs were gone. As he was being carried into the ward, he came out of it briefly and saw a Catholic chaplain standing over him.
"Father," he said, "am I all right?"
The chaplain didn't know what to say. "You'll have to talk about that with the doctors, son."
"Father, are my legs okay?"
"Yes," the chaplain said, "Sure."
By the next afternoon the shock had worn off and the boy knew all about it. He was lying on his cot when the chaplain came by.
"Father," the Marine said, "I'd like to ask you for something."
"I'd like to have that cross." And he pointed to the tiny silver insignia on the chaplain's lapel.
"Of course," the chaplain said. "But why?"
"Well, it was the first thing I saw when I came to yesterday, and I'd like to have it."
The chaplain removed the cross and handed it to him. The Marine held it tightly in his fist and looked at the chaplain.
"You lied to me, Father," he said. "You cocksucker. You lied to me."