The Vietnam War (1959-1975) is one of the bloodiest military conflicts in human history. Millions of lives were consumed or scorched by the raging flames of war. By the end of the war, over fifty-eight thousand Americans and at least two million Vietnamese, including troops and civilians, had lost their lives in battle. In addition, more than three hundred thousand Americans and an estimated three million Vietnamese had been wounded in the war.
Such a hideous war is certainly a playground of the darkest and cruelest elements of human nature. Yet occasionally it also inspires some of the noblest sentimentslatent in the human heart, such as heroic courage, unwavering loyalty, or the unique love and caring that is shared by comrades-in-arms. The following is a story about the blindness of war, about offering help and comfort, about sacrifice and dedication, and most of all, about the meaning of friendship.
The mortar rounds had landed in the small village. Whatever their planned target had been is lost in the agony of the Vietnam War, but they landed in a small orphanage run by a missionary group.
The missionaries and one or two children had been killed outright, and several children had been wounded, including one young girl, about 8 years old, who had suffered wounds to her legs.
Since the missionaries were no longer able to tend to their young charges, people from the village helped as much as they could, but it was a couple of hours before medical help arrived in response to a runner who had been sent to a neighboring town that had radio contact with American forces.
The medical help was a young U.S. Navy doctor and an equally young Navy nurse, who arrived in a jeep with only their medical kits. A quick survey of the injured quickly established the young girl as the most critically injured, and it was clear that without immediate action, she would die from loss of blood and shock.
A blood transfusion was imperative, but their limited supplies did not include plasma, so a matching blood type was required. The villagers, who didn’t trust the Americans much more than they trusted the Viet Cong, had withdrawn when the two Americans arrived. A quick blood typing showed that neither American had the correct blood type. Several of the uninjured orphans did.
The doctor spoke a little pidgin Vietnamese, and the nurse spoke a little high-school French. The children spoke no English and some French. Using a combination of what little common language they could find, together with much impromptu sign language, they tried to explain to their frightened audience that unless they could replace some of their little friend’s lost blood, she would certainly die. Then they asked if anyone would be willing to give blood to help.
Their request was met with wide-eyed silence. Their little patient’s life hung in the balance. Yet they could only get the blood if one of these frightened children volunteered. After several long moments, a little hand slowly and waveringly went up, dropped back down, and a moment later went up again.
“Oh, thank you,” the nurse said in French. “What is your name?”
“Heng,” came the mumbled reply.
Heng was quickly laid on a pallet, his arm swabbed with alcohol, and the needle inserted in his vein. Through this ordeal Heng lay stiff and silent.
After a moment, he let out a shuddering sob, quickly covering his face with his free hand.
“Is it hurting, Heng?” the doctor asked.
Heng shook his head silently, but after a few moments another sob escaped, and again he tried to cover up his crying.
But now his occasional sob gave way to a steady, silent crying, his eyes screwed tightly shut, his fist in his mouth trying to stifle his sobs.
The medical team now was very concerned, because the needle should not have been hurting their tiny patient. Something was obviously very wrong. At this point, a Vietnamese nurse arrived to help, and seeing the little one’s distress, spoke rapidly in Vietnamese, listened to his reply, and quickly answered him again. Moving over to stroke his forehead as she talked, her voice was soothing and reassuring.
After a moment, the patient stopped crying, opened his eyes, and looked questioningly at the Vietnamese nurse. When she nodded, a look of great relief spread over his face.
Looking up, the Vietnamese nurse said quietly to the Americans, “He thought he was dying. He misunderstood you. He thought you had asked him to give all his blood so the little girl could live.”
“But why would he be willing to do that?” asked the Navy nurse.
The Vietnamese nurse repeated the question to the little boy, who answered simply, “She’s my friend.”
Ｃ 5. The boy lay stiff and cried on a pallet because .
(A) he was extremely sick
(B) the needle hurt him
(C) he thought that he was dying
(D) he thought of his family
Part C 字彙練習—Vocabulary Practice
Match the words: Please fill in the blanks using the following words.
wounds sentiment relief transfusion
inserted imperative establish dedication
During the hideous Vietnam War, there was a story about great friendship. The mortar rounds landed in a small orphanage, killing and hurting the children there. An eight-year-old girl suffered
wounds to her legs. She was critically injured and may die from loss of blood. Therefore, the medical team thought that it was imperative for her to have a blood transfusion . A boy volunteered to help. However, when the nurse inserted a needle in his vein, he cried as if the needle hurt him. It turned out that he misunderstood the doctor’s request. He thought that he was dying. To everyone’s relief , the surgery was very successful. They were glad about it.