Just then they heard the sound of gunfire. The sounds of the jungle behind them, the normal cacophony of birds and insects, went quiet once again. The mission had begun.
The four medical people sat down on one of the cots. No one spoke. Anna Maria was praying for the safety of Kathy, the chaplain, and all of the soldiers, nuns, and children. She guessed that her companions were deep in prayer as well. She remembered her father telling her the old cliché, “No atheists in foxholes.” This wasn’t a foxhole. It was a pup tent. Under fire, Anna Maria surmised pup tents were as good a place to look for God as foxholes.
The gunfire seemed to last forever. Anna Maria looked at her watch. The insects and birds began their chorus once more. For the jungle, it was all over. For Anna Maria and the others, the work was just beginning. They hoped the approaching jeeps would be filled with their own. During the planning, the preparation and the praying, Anna Maria had never allowed herself to think the unthinkable that it might be the Viet Cong and Chinese who came out to kill them and to take their supplies from them, not their own people.
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