On June 17, 1968, a cloudy humid afternoon 21 year old Tim O'Brien received his draft letter for the Vietnam War. Tim is politically naive and has protest against the war by writing articles.
Only 20 yards to freedom
What about my family?
I'm scared, my chest hurts
Tim was consumed by a million thoughts at once. He wasn't for this war, yet if he didn't go he would be a disgrace to his family and country.
Thank you sir. You are my hero.
TIP TOP LODGE
The word Canada burned in his mind. He drove aimlessly north. Needing a place to rest he found the Tip Top Lodge where a man Elroy Berdahl greeted and took him in. They then spend 6 days together not saying much.
I'm a coward
Elroy was no hick, he was sharp and educated. Without saying Elroy knew the conflict Tim had. On the last day Elroy took Tim fishing, Tim noticed they had crossed into Canadian waters with the shore line only 20 yards away. He cried.
Tim felt too much guilt to take those last 20 yards to freedom. He understood what he had to do. Before he could get a chance to thank Elroy, he was gone. Tim cleaned up and drove back home.
Tim returned home, then left for Vietnam. Luckily he returned but, he did not feel like a hero rather a coward.