National Geographic : 1960 Sep
KODACHROMESBY HERBERTS. WILBURN, NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC STAFF (ABOVE), AND PETE TURNER© N.G.S. I had a wonderful meal and a hot shower and a comfortable bed, all of which was better than I found in Benghazi, where the damage of World War II has not all been repaired. Among my maps I had brought a chart of Africa such as the one from my school days; as much as I hate to admit it, the map was 50 years old. I looked for Zelten and found the place all right, but it was in the middle of a dark spot marked "unexplored." Times, it seems, had changed. THEY have changed as well in Tunisia, and for me this was a nostalgic thing. I soldiered in Tunisia, you see, and of a war, a man remembers best the few pleasurable things-his hours of strength, the times of release from responsibilities, above all the 358 comradeships with other men who bore arms, one true good that comes of the holocaust. A man goes back, but he goes alone; his friends are not there. The land is the same, but sleek cattle and not weary riflemen cross the flaming fields of poppies. The road still runs to Qasserine from holy Qairouan, only it is smoothly paved now, and the dot in the sky is a soaring bird and not a fighter plane. The bridge across the wadi at Feriana still lies in ruins. But why the sudden chill of fear? That is the voice of a child at play, not my own voice crying in terror as the wind devil dances the dust away and reveals the lethal mines all naked on the sand. I went upstream a hundred yards and took the new bridge of steel and concrete that leads away from the past. I was not alone now. All Africa was crossing the bridge.