Black Sunday
done. She should have waited. I could have gotten a better deal. She said the dealer was giving her a very special deal. She looked smug.
    If I had a protractor, a level, navigation tables and a string I could figure out the date without a calendar. I get one hour of direct sunlight through my window. The strips of wood between the windowpanes make a cross on the wall. I know the time and I know the latitude and longitude of the hospital. That and the angle of the sun would give me the date. I could measure it on the wall.
    Lander's return was difficult for Margaret. She had begun to build a different life with different people in his absence, and she interrupted that life to take him home. It is probable that she would have left him had he come home from his last tour in 1968, but she would not file for a divorce while he was imprisoned. She tried to be fair, and she could not bear the thought of leaving him while he was sick.
    The first month was awful. Lander was very nervous, and his pills did not always help him. He could not stand to have the doors locked, even at night, and he prowled the house after midnight, making sure they were open. He went to the refrigerator twenty times a day to reassure himself that it was full of food. The children were polite to him, but their conversation was about people he did not know.
    He gained strength steadily and talked of returning to active duty. The records at St. Alban's Hospital showed a weight gain of 18 pounds in the first two months.
    The records of the Judge Advocate General of the Department of the Navy show that Lander was summoned to a closed hearing on May 24 to answer charges of collaboration with the enemy lodged by Colonel Ralph DeJong.
    The transcript of the hearing records that Exhibit Seven, a piece of North Vietnamese propaganda film, was shown at the hearing, and that, immediately afterward, the hearing was recessed for fifteen minutes while the defendant excused himself. Subsequently, testimony by the defendant and by Colonel DeJong was heard.
    The transcript on two occasions records that the accused addressed the hearing board as "Mam." Much later, these quotations were considered by the blue-ribbon commission to be typographical errors in the transcript.
    In view of the accused's exemplary record prior to capture and his decoration for going after the downed air crew, the action that led to his capture, the officers at the hearing were inclined to be lenient.
    A memorandum signed by Colonel Dejong is affixed to the transcript. It states that, in view of the Defense Department's expressed wish to avoid adverse publicity regarding POW misconduct, he is willing to drop the charges "for the larger good of the service" if Lander offers his resignation.
    The alternative to resignation was court-martial. Lander did not think he could sit through the film again.
    A copy of his resignation from the United States Navy is attached to the transcript.
    Lander was numb when he left the hearing room. He felt as if one of his limbs had been struck off. He would have to tell Margaret soon. Although she had never mentioned the film, she would know the reason for his resignation. He walked aimlessly through Washington, a solitary figure on a bright spring day, neat in the uniform he could never wear again. The film kept running in his head. Every detail was there, except that, somehow, his POW uniform was replaced with short pants. He sat down on a bench near the Ellipse. It was not so far to the bridge into Arlington, not so far to the river. He wondered if the undertaker would cross his hands on his chest. He wondered if he could write a note requesting that the good hand be placed on top. He wondered if the note would dissolve in his pocket. He was staring at the Washington Monument without really seeing it. He saw it with the tunnel vision of a suicide, the monument standing up in the bright circle like a post reticule in a telescopic sight. Something moved

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