Do you know what it means to suffer?
Then a chaplain came walking by, a hellfire and brimstone preacher who saw us as a captive audience. He stopped and looked us over with disgust.
"You're soft," he cried in a high-pitched voice laced with the hills and hollows of Appalachia. "You don't know what it means to suffer. You don't know what it means to be really hungry. Well I know and I'm going to tell you."
No one had informed him that some of the men sitting by themselves off to the left were from the 30th Infantry Division. For a week they had been surrounded on a hillside with nothing to eat but some unripe apples and hard potatoes they had dug from the ground.
So he told them and the rest of us who'd been eating high on the hog what it was like to be really hungry.
"After breakfast one morning I went for a walk in the woods and got lost. It was ten-thirty at night before I got back. All that time I didn't have a thing to eat. That's what it means to be hungry. That's what it means to suffer."
One by one the men from the 30th got up and walked away. One by one the rest of us did the same.
Well, it was nice while it lasted.