(Dr. Sidney Freeman is in Col. Potter's tent.)
Potter: Sidney, I've been in a cold sweat.
Potter: I told you my mistake. I almost cost a boy his life. Next thing I heard, we were getting casualties in. That's when something snapped. I mean, those announcements always tighten my gut a bit but...but this was different. Worse. It was like everything was falling down around me and I was gonna fall apart with it.
Freeman: That's scary.
Potter: Pretty soon, those choppers are comin' in and I've got to go into O. R. and start cuttin' into people. I don't know if I'll be able to hit the bulls-eye again.
Freeman: You're letting me down.
Potter: Letting you down?
Freeman: There's nothing new here. Sherm, we're all worried about getting old but we've got to face it.
Potter: Not like I do. Look at you. When your hand starts to shake a little, you can still go on chasing cobwebs out of people's attics. But being a surgeon is all I am. It's the only kind of doctor I ever wanted to be. Since I was a boy. Back in Hannibal, I had an uncle---Uncle Roy. He was a veterinarian. Used to cart me along when he'd make his rounds. One time, he was operating on a colicky horse. Right there with me watching, he laid that mare down and removed an enterolith from her belly. My uncle showed me the beauty---"the glory" he called it---of what's inside living creatures. From that minute, my dream was to be a surgeon. And it came true. I've lived that wide-eyed little boy's dream ever since. But maybe now...it's over.
Freeman: Over? Because of one piece of shrapnel?
Potter: Maybe that one piece of sharpnel was trying to tell me something. Look at Joe DiMaggio. He just hung up Number Five and is going out with his head and his batting average high. But even if he wanted to hang around a while longer, what would it matter? A few more strikeouts maybe. But if I strike out, it could cost a life. (almost tearfully) Sidney, I'm afraid to go in there. (he points to the O. R.)
Freeman: (pause) Why couldn't you tell me that's what you were afraid of?
Potter: Because I was scared...you'd tell me I'm right.
Freeman: Look, I can't tell you whether you've lost your touch. Someday you will. Everybody does eventually. But whether that someday is today...you're the only one who has the answer. But you mustn't let the fear make the decision for you.