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Maj. Michael S. Filip of the Archdiocese of Detroit holds chapel services near Plei Djereng, Vietnam on Nov. 20, 1966.

Maj. Michael S. Filip of the Archdiocese of Detroit holds chapel services near Plei Djereng, Vietnam on Nov. 20, 1966. (Allen Fasoldt/Stars and Stripes)

It was the year of the reality check. In 1966, Americans began to grasp what they faced in Vietnam. Back home the U.S. administration struggled to sell the war as a necessary sacrifice to stop global communism and save a backward people from an evil aggressor seeking to enslave them.

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