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The Forgotten Angels by Stephen Bryan (Hurricane Warning)

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*****Prologue*****

November 22, 1962

My mother once told me to just run like a “dog on fire” if I ever found

myself anywhere near the large boy. But now that he and I were

interviewing face to face, his strong hand swathed strappingly around

my skinny eight year-old neck, that option no longer served valid.

Don Shiner was his name, a tall, plumpish assembled boy of only fourteen

years, yet a boy who owned the city of Northside 's most notorious

reputation. In a large wooded area of town, my search for bottles -

each holding a two-cent bounty - had accidentally brought me upon the

hovel habitat of the boy. His abrupt arrival was of such promptness

that I never had the opportunity to follow my mother‘s simple but wise

counsel. Just a crack of a twig then a hand with cobra speed

encompassing my neck.

“What are you doing hanging round my property?” demanded the large boy.

“I'm sorry sir, I promise, I didn't know anyone lived around here. I was

just looking for bottles, I sell ‘them down at the pharmacy,” I cried

out, holding up two empty soda bottles as quick evidence.

“Well someone does live round here, look right over there,” he yelled,

squeezing my neck harder and pointing my head in the direction of his

shabbily built hut.

“Please sir, just turn me lose and I promise with my life that I'll

never come anywhere near here again,” I pledged.

“Are you a part of them punk-creep kids who's been sneaking round and

pegging my hideout with rocks?” he growled, scarlet blood mounting to

his face.

“No sir, not me, sir, I'm not even allowed to throw rocks,” I vowed.

“Alright,” he finally said, at last releasing my neck but pulling a

large six-inch knife from his belt. “But if I ever catch you round my

camp again it's gonna be...Swish!”

I felt the large blade rush just inches from my tear-spilled face. I

turned and ran like the wind, thankful that I had miraculously escaped

the black fury of Don Shiner with my life intact. To my backside I

could hear the fading voice of the large boy roaring in laughter.

*****Part 1*****

Attached to my aged but faithful Schwinn Flyer where three large baskets

which I used to carry the overwhelming load of my daily soda bottle

roundup. One basket had been placed in front of the handlebars while

the other two sat astride the rear fender. Oftentimes, the bike would

be so overloaded that it wobbled dangerously to and fro making it near

impossible to steer. I pulled behind Mr. Smith's pharmacy and carefully

began unloading my entire afternoon collection into large wooden

creates. Mr. Smith, stood over me, methodically counting each bottle

then noting the amount into his ledger book. Once finished, I followed

him inside where he generously forked over the bounty. Today was a good

day; fifty bottles at two cent each brought an entire dollar. The new

bike that I had my eye on was $62.00 and I'd already stashed away

nearly $37.00. What started out as just a dream was now becoming an

unbelievable reality. At this rate, just twenty-five more days of

collecting and I'd be on my new bike by Christmas!

Under my spinning, worn-out tires, the crimson leaves swirled and spun

in a dance. The cold autumn wind burned lightly yet refreshing across

my face. Meandering from nearby chimneys was the rustic sweet smell of

wood smoke blending with the appetizing aroma of evening meals being

prepared. I hastened my speed, and lost myself in a dream of riding

soon upon my new bicycle. Suddenly as I rounded a corner, I hit my

brakes, sending me to a fast and grinding halt. My heart dug in deep.

Before my eyes, I found myself staring into the large frame of Don

Shiner again!

He was on the ground and struggling with an old broken down bicycle.

Lying beside the bike was a huge pile of neatly rolled newspapers. This

time, I felt I owned the advantage, knowing well that my Flyer and I

could disappear like a ghost should the need arise. I passed slowly by

him trying to determine the nature of his mechanical problem.

Apparently the chain had slipped free and Shiner was pulling hard,

desperately trying to re-track it.

“That happens to my bike all the time. You're going to need a pair of

pliers to pull it back on,” I told him, sounding as if I'd been in the

bicycle repair business all my life.

Shiner glanced a double look up at me. “Oh no crap, kid, and do you

happen to see a pair of pliers just conveniently lying around? By the

way, ain't you that little kid that I caught a few days ago hanging

round my camp?”

“Yeah, that was me,” I admitted in a small voice.

Shiner looked back at the stubborn, greasy chain and strung out a long

chain of obscenities to it. “So, just who are you, kid?”

“Tad,” I told him. “Tad Mitchell,”

“Tad?“ he laughed. “What kind of a dumb-ass name is that?”

I shrugged my shoulders, my feelings somewhat trotted. “I don't know,

it's just a name I guess.”

“Well, if I don't get these newspapers delivered on time I'm gonna be

fried meat,“ he said in genuine frustration.”

I spun my bike around, telling Shiner I would return quickly with some

tools. Ten minutes passed when I slid to a quick arrest in front of the

boy. “Here,” I said, handing him a pair of pliers and a large

screwdriver. He glanced at me in admiration. I held the rear portion of

the chain with the screwdriver while Shiner pulled hard with the pliers

on the front section. On the first attempt the chain went smoothly

around the teething fitting perfectly into place.

“Hey, thanks, kid, that worked great.” He began to give me a

congratulate pat but his grease-soaked hand stopped just short. “Oh

crap, I can't deliver these papers like this,” he grumbled.

I walked over to my bike and handed him a large jar of water as well as

my mother's dishwashing soap. “Wow, you really thought of everything

kid,” he said while scrubbing hard with the soap. I poured the water

over his hands while he rinsed them fairly clean.

“Sorry I made fun of your name, kid.”

“It's ok, I think I was named after an ancestor who fought in the Civil

War.”

“Oh yeah,” he asked curiously, “Which side?”

“The South,” I returned.

“Well, he must have been a decent man if he was a Reb,” stated Shiner,

giving me a noteworthy wink.”

As I helped Shiner load all the newspapers back into his wire baskets an

idea came to me. “Say, sir, would you like if I helped you deliver

these?“ I asked.

“Shiner glanced at his watch. "You ever delivered newspapers before,

kid?” he queried.

“No sir, but it couldn't be any worse than collecting bottles,” I

replied.

“Well, I can't pay you anything.”

“That's alright sir, I don't mind.”

“Ok, I'll let you try it, but only under one condition; that you'll stop

calling me sir. I'm only fourteen and my name is Don.”

“It's a deal,” I mocked, “If you'll stop calling me kid, I'm only eight

and my name is Tad.”

Don and I shook with assertive hand to finalize the agreement.

*****

My first day in the career of a paperboy went rather smoothly on that

chilly afternoon in 1962. Don was a fine instructor and under his

careful wing of my apprenticeship he revealed the ends and outs of the

profession. My only real miscue of the day was sailing one of the

papers slightly off target resulting in a crashing flowerpot. After

that, Don quarantined my deliveries to the driveways. Even with that

constraint, I still manage to lose a few in the bushes.

After all fifty papers were delivered, we pulled upon another large

stack sitting along a secluded street corner. The Evening Times had

apparently delivered these papers by truck. Don explained that there

were four legs to the route, each consisting of fifty papers for each

leg making a grand total of two hundred. He cut the taunt brown string

with his large knife, the same knife that came only inches to my face

just days earlier. He then handed me a large ball of blue rubber bands

and we sat at the curb rolling the next fifty. I took the right side of

the street while Don posted the left. It suddenly came to me that here

I was, only an eight year old kid, helping out the toughest, most

feared boy in town. I thought of the older boys at school, the ones who

were always pushing me around. I only wished they could see me now.

Once the route was finished we both headed back in the direction that we

had started. I looked at the sky and saw only a sliver of fading light

hanging low in the west. The route had taken us several miles from

home. About halfway back Don stopped and told me he was taking a

shortcut the rest of way.

“Thanks, Tad for helping out. I could've never gotten those papers

delivered on time without your help” he told me earnestly .

“Ah, it was nothing,” I said, feeling the favor belonged to me. “Care if

I help you out tomorrow, I mean I can help you everyday if you like.”

A thoughtful look came in his eyes. “Tell, you what Tad, if you're

willing to help me everyday, I might just have an idea how I could pay

you, but it means giving up your bottle collecting in the afternoons.”

“Sure thing!” This is a hundred times easier,” I cried out.

“Great, come to my place tomorrow afternoon around four and I'll tell

you about my plan. I'll need to talk with the newspaper to get it

approved.”

I stood under the muted street light with a bewildered face. “Sure, I'll

come, but...where do you live?”

“At my camp in the woods, do you remember how to get there?”

“Yeah I remember,” I told him, “But don't you have a real home, I mean,

with a mom and dad and all? I thought your camp was a place where you

just fooled around.”

“No,” Don replied, “My camp is my home. I've never had any parents, at

least any that I can remember. Look, it's sort of a long story, ok?”

I wanted to keep the question alive but something told me it was time to

back off. I rode away into an icy wind that ripped bluntly at my body.

I glanced up at a totally blacken sky. I had never stayed out this late

and I knew I was in for some real trouble.

As I had expected, the first person I met as I walked through the front

door was my dad, a rather hefty size man adorning a large middle-age

spread. Baggy eyes drooped heavy behind his small round spectacles

illustrating the obvious signs of premature aging. He pointed a harsh

finger into the outside darkness then exploded. “Where the mother-hell

have you been!”

“I'm sorry, Dad, I was out collecting and delivering,“ I answered,

trying to stretch the truth as far as possible.

Mom soon entered the scene of the crime, her face not as mad as Dad's

but nevertheless carrying the worn expression of concern and

frustration. “You had us both worried sick Tad. In fact we were just

getting ready to call the police,” she said feebly, tears beginning to

outline her eyes.

“Eat your supper and go straight to bed,” roared Dad with a voice that

demanded only silence on my part. “And if I ever catch you out this

late, your bottle collecting days will be permanently over.”

Lying on my bed, I starred up into the white textured ceiling and

reflected hard on Don Shiner. He was only fourteen, and even though

that particular age seemed a lifetime away, I'd never known any boy

that age who didn't at least have a home and some sort of a parent. I

closed my eyes and listened as the cold outside wind rattled at the

windows. The coming of winter was harshly making it's presence known. I

felt the warm air from the furnace enfold me. Then I envisioned Don

lying in that miserably cold shack probably with little or no food.

Tomorrow, I vowed, would be a day I would get some answers.

*****Part 2*****

Upon entering Don's camp I noticed he was seated outside at an old

rusted table. In in his hands was a small block of wood that he was

painstakingly carving with the use of an odd shaped instrument. As I

sat down he glanced over at me.

“Glad you could make it, little guy.”

I sat in silence watching him carefully slice fine segments from the

block. “What's that going to be?” I finally asked.

“A pitching wild stallion,” he returned. “Do you like horses Tad?”

“Sure, but I've never been on one.”

“Neither have I but I think they're the most magnificent animal on

earth,” said Don, while squinting an eye and holding the block up to a

bright chilly sky. “I talked with Mr. Anderson at the newspaper today,

he's my boss,” Don continued. “I asked if he would allow me to add

another fifty papers to the route and he agreed. He was just a little

worried about getting that many papers delivered on time. That's when I

told him I had a helper. Now here's the deal Tad; if you agree to help

with all 250 papers you can keep the money from the extra fifty.

That'll give you about seven dollars a week. Do you think you can

handle it?”

I gulped deep then spilled out in joy. “You bet,” I cried. “That's

almost three dollars more than I make collecting soda bottles on a good

week.” I reached over the table and we both shook on the deal. Then my

head dropped low as something occurred to me. “The only problem is, I

really got in trouble last night for getting home so late.”

Don began carving on the block of wood again, his mind deep in

contemplation. “We just got off to a late start yesterday and besides,

we can always start at the very end of the route and work our way back

to this area. That way you'll be home long before dark.”

As I shook my head in agreement, Don stood up then motioned for me to

follow him into his tattered shack. “Come on, there's something I want

to show you inside.”

The shack was dark and dismal; yielding little light with the exception

of two cutouts in the wall that could be opened or closed by means of a

small swinging door. Don lighted a large lantern that cast a bright

flicker of illumination throughout the room. In the center of the shack

sat another rusted table and a single chair. To the far right I saw

what looked to be an old mattress on the floor with several worn-thin

blankets. On the back wall were a few makeshift shelves that held a

dozen or so of large, hefty books.

“You must like reading?“ I remarked, pointing to the books.

“I sure do. Those are all library books. I don't go to school anymore,

but I still try to stay up with things.” Alongside the books was

another self that held four of Don's completed woodcarvings. I walked

up for closer inspection.

“That's what I wanted to show you,“ Don said. “Take ‘em down, they won't

break.” I carried all four to the table and began closely examining

them under the bright yellow glow of the lantern.

The first figure was that of an elegant dolphin that appeared to be

leaping gracefully from the sea. The second carving was that of a horse

in a heaving gallop, it‘s cowboy rider hunkered low in the saddle. The

third of Don's works was a beautiful soaring eagle in flight. The

details were unbelievably fine and required perfect vision to see every

single carved feather on that magnificent bird.

“Don, these are just super-duper,” I told him, my mouth hanging wide

open in delight. “How do you do this?”

“It's easy,” Don replied modestly. “I just follow the lines.”

I picked up the unfinished block of wood and stared into it. “I don't

see any lines,” I remarked with a puzzled face.

“I guess everyone can't see 'em. When I was little I could see the lines

even in a glob of clay. I could create the slickest stuff. When I was

in fifth grade my teacher bought me these special carving tools. I

couldn't afford to pay her back so I carved an apple for her desk,”

laughed Don. “She told me it was the most beautiful present anyone had

ever given her.”

We sat for a few moments in silence, then I looked up to Don and asked

bluntly, “Why don't you have a mom or dad?”

Don probed my eyes deeply then he handed me the last carving. I looked

at it closely and noticed it also displayed the same beautiful details

of a master artist. It was a sculpture of a small boy and girl who

portrayed a terrifying look to their eyes. Their arms stretched

heavenly as if begging for divine intervention.

“I never knew my father,” Don rejoined. “He left before I was even born.

I barely remember my mother. I think I was about three when she left.”

“What happened to her?” I asked, barely audible

“She abandoned me,” he said in heavy sigh.

“You mean she just ran away or something?”

“She took me to one of those large supermarkets and led me to the toy

isle. She told me I could have anything I wanted if I didn't leave. I

kept waiting and waiting but she never came back. Finally I got really

scarred and started running up and down the isles. I remember screaming

and yelling out her name but she.... The next thing I remember was

riding away in the back seat of a police car. They took me to this big

house with lots of other kids. They called it a foster home.” I didn't

stay there long, maybe a few months. They kept moving us around from

house to house and maybe it was a good thing. Foster homes are nothing

but a living hell.”

“Why?” I asked, “do they treat the kids mean?”

“Well you see Tad; these foster parents get paid for each child that

they care for. They're suppose to use most of the money for the

children, but they don't. They'll take in as many kids as possible,

then keep all the money themselves. The kids live dirt poor and starve

half the time. But that's not the worst of it. If you complain or make

threats to tell someone, they'll give you a good beatin' and even

threaten your life. When you were moved, you never knew if you'd end up

in a home even worse than the one you were leaving. When I was seven I

had this friend named Andy. He was only five and was always getting the

belt because he wet the bed. One night I heard him really getting a

trouncing over in the next bedroom. He was screaming like I'd never

heard 'em before. I could hear the belt ripping hard right into his

skin. Then everything just went quite. After that I only heard the

voices from the adults. They sounded like they were sort of shouting at

each another. But not one peep from that little kid. That's the last

time I ever saw Andy again. They told us they moved him to another home

but I never believed ‘em. I think they did something really bad to that

little boy.”

I continued to study the small figurine of the weeping children. “You

made this carving for all those foster kids didn't you Don?”

The large boy slowly shook his head. “I call it the “The Forgotten

Angels” because these kids are totally forgotten by the rest of the

world.”

“So what happened to you, I mean how did you get out on your own?” I

asked hesitantly.

“About six months ago I was living in this home with about five other

kids. All ages you know. There was this girl, Sara, who was about my

age and we sort of had a crush on each other. Well, one night we were

all sitting round the table eating dinner. The adults, of course, had

all the good stuff. We were eating soup and peanut butter sandwiches

and maybe some other junk. Anyway, Sara made some off-the-wall remark

about what the adults were eating. That's when Ted Jacobs, our foster

father, came round the table and smacked Sara hard across the face. I

guess all those years of frustration just blew-up in me that night. I

leaped on Ted and got him to the floor. I beat him with my fist as hard

as I could. I think if everyone hadn't pulled me off, I would have

killed him right there. I grabbed my stuff, bought a bus ticket and

never looked back.”

I handed Don all of his carvings and he began carefully lining them up

on the dusty self. “Some of the older boys at my school said that you

cut out the hearts of three little kids up here.”

Don put his hands over his face and muttered, “Tad, do you really

believe that I did something like that?”

“No,” I shot back with determined tone.

“Those kids taunt the hell out of me just cause I'm different. I don't

have a sweet and warm little life like they do, so they try to make me

into some kinda monster. They sneak round here trying to trash my camp

and steal what little food I have. They don't know nothing about the

other side of life. They're just a bunch of little punky-pinkies.”

“How about the police? Why don't you tell them about these boys?”

“Right,” Don sputtered. “If I do that, I'll end up back in another

foster home.” There's only one person with the police who I trust and

that's officer Rosella. He knows I live out here, we've talked a lot

about foster homes. In fact he lived in one himself. He knows what a

hellhole they are and he promised not to tell on me. He's really a

slick guy, brings me stuff too, like extra food and supplies. I think

he's kinda worried about what I'm going to do with my life. He's always

bugging me about it. I told him I'd do anything but go back to another

foster home. That part of my life is over. Well anyway, Tad, what are

you planning do with your life?”

I thought for a long moment then shrugged my shoulders. “I don't know.

My dad's a TV repairman; he's always talking about me working with him

someday.”

“Well, that respectable work, I guess. But me, I ain't gonna graze

around with the other sheep, I'm gonna really make something of myself.

Before I left the home, I was the best hitter on my baseball team.

Coach said I could easily play in the big leagues if I put my mind to

it. I think when spring comes, I going to Florida . You know, that's

where all the big teams hold spring training. I gonna go round to every

one of ‘em and ask for a try-out. I guess I'll have to lie about my age

if that's what it takes.”

I looked at Don's huge body realizing he wouldn't need to do much

convincing to that effect. “So, what happens if baseball doesn't work

out?” I asked.

Don walked to the open door and stared out into the cold afternoon

light. With dark, blank eyes he began talking as if no one were in the

room but himself. “You wanna know something? You live your whole life,

say seventy, eighty years, then you die. A hundred years later, no one

even remembers that you existed. All that life...just wasted. But that

ain't gonna happen to me. Even if I don't make it in baseball, I'm

gonna keep trying, keep working at it. I'm gonna do something so

spectacular that I'll be remembered for the rest of all time. No one

will ever forget the name of “Donald Justin Shiner.” And that, my

little friend, is a genuine promise.”

Walking up to Don, I placed my small hand up to his massive shoulder. “I

really hope you do it Don, if anyone deserves it, it's you.”

“Thanks,” he said, lightly patting my back. “But right now, first things

first, let's get those newspapers delivered.”

*****Part 3*****

The cold days of winter passed casually on their own accord. My paperboy

apprenticeship turned to mastery after only a few short weeks. I had

learned to ease my newspapers to their desired fate like a future hall

of fame pitcher. The cold winter dragged slowly. Many days Don and I

were forced to walk the entire route on ice tormented streets. Days

turned to weeks and weeks to months and the season rolled on. Soon the

first breath of spring crested from a frozen landscape. The air became

warm and lively. Slowly, the master of life unbounded it's covered

kindred and the world stirred from a glacial slumber.

Over the last four months I had saved over $100, combining this with my

bottle collecting money, I owned the unbelievable amount that was close

to $140. I pulled the entire large wad of crinkled money from my pocket

and handed it all to Don Shiner.

The day hadn't gone well for Don. Just hours earlier, he had met me in a

panic along the street. Officer Rosella had just finished paying him a

visit. Don was informed that the city police had learned his identity

and were planning his arrest for the assault on Ted Jacobs. Now instead

of returning to another foster home, Don was destined for someplace

even worse; the county juvenile detention center. The large boy had

already gathered his scant few belongings, packing them into a worn

suitcase that Rosella had given him. The officer had also purchased for

Don a single one-way bus ticket to Miami .

“I'm not taking your money Tad, you've worked too hard for it. Besides,

I know how much you've been talking about that new bike.“ he said while

handing all my money back.

I took the cash and threw it to the sidewalk just in front of his feet.

The warm spring air gusted a few of the bills into the street and Don

went scurrying after them. Suddenly I had lost all interest in a new

bike. He stood looking down at me with eyes that reflected every hour

of his abysmal life. Strong, long arms smothered around me, his embrace

tender for such a large boy. I felt a quiver run through me knowing

that Don's new journey was carrying him into a future that held little

certainly and only a breath of hope.

Don hesitantly slipped my money into his pocket. Opening the aged

suitcase, he pulled out the carving of the two weeping children. “Of

all my carvings, this is my favorite. It would mean a lot if you kept

it safe for me?”

I timidly took the carving and placed it into my bicycle basket. The

green rabbit's foot hanging from my handlebars caught my eye and I

unhooked it and held it out to Don. The large boy broke into a light

emotional laugh.

“It's not for good luck, it's my wishing foot,” I explained. “Whenever I

really want something that I know I can never have, I close my eyes

then squeeze it and make the wish.”

“Has it ever worked?” Don asked.

“No, not really.” I replied, shaking my head and studying the ground.

“Well maybe you just didn't have enough faith in yourself,” Don

returned, taking the rabbit's foot and giving me one last hug. “I'd

better go, or I'm gonna miss my bus."

He jumped on his bike then placed a large hand on my head. “You wanna

know something Tad? I think you were the best friend I ever had.”

Immediately my eyes began to burn.

Through swimming vision I watched as he rode away, the tattered suitcase

swinging awkwardly from side to side. I never saw Don Shiner again.

*****Part 4*****

April 17th 2002

I aimed my curser and double clicked the left mouse button then watched

impatiently as my computer slowly materialized a blank white screen.

Only seconds awaited before my desired page flashes before my eyes.

Within that small instant of linger, great leaps of memory infiltrates

a time almost forty years earlier. I had ran across the site almost two

years ago by means of a simple search engine. Modern technology had at

last reunited me with Don Shiner.

A dispelling voice rings heavy in my head. I try to dismiss it but it

follows me like a haunted guest. Something of soul or sprit keeps me

returning to this aberrant site. Or maybe something of my own desire to

keep alive.

The small carving of the weeping children rest just above my computer

and I reach up with heavy hand and touch it fondly. Each time that my

hand comes in company with it, I hear those long ago words of a boy

with a disparate cry:

“”I'm gonna do something so spectacular that I'll be remembered for the

rest of all time. No one will ever forget the name of “Donald Justin

Shiner.” And that my little friend is a genuine promise.”

The screen rolls forward and my heart sinks in deep. Yes Don, you have

achieve your immortality and remembrance, as long as this nation keeps

its honor and promise. You will always be there with pride and dignity,

and forever amongst the world's very best.

The screen adjusts into total focus and on this day which rejoices his

54th birthday, I read:

______________________________________________________

In Memory of Private Donald Justin Shiner

Let us not forget Private Donald Justin Shiner, casuality of the Vietnam

War. As a member of the Army, Selective Service, PVT Shiner served our

country until March 23rd, 1968 in Quang Tri , South Vietnam . He was 19

years old and was not married. Donald died from enemy artillery fire.

His body was recovered. Donald was born on April 17th, 1948 in

Lynchburg , Virginia .

PVT Shiner is on panel 33W, line 045 of the Veterans Memorial Wall in

Washington D.C. He served our country for less than a year.

_______________________________________________________

Think about the light in your eyes Think about what you should know

Thered be no sadness in the world If everybody joined in the show

-Cat Stevens

******The End******

IMPORTANT NOTES FROM THE AUTHOR OF THIS STORY:

Please Read

1. Under no circumstances is this story discrediting the foster child

program of this country. It is a wonderful program that places children

with no other alternatives into wonderful caring arms. My wife and I

are giving loving care to two foster children ourselves. In this day

and age, foster care is exceedingly regulated and assures that all

children live in a safe and compassionate environment, free from abuse

and neglect. I realize that some children may fall through the cracks,

but overall, the program is foremost to anything like it in the world.

But this wasn't always the case. When experimental foster care first

became reality in the 1940's and 50's many children lived like

unwanted, abused animals. Their lives were a living nightmare from day

to day. I know firsthand, because I lived in a dozen or so of these

horror homes for most of my early childhood. Thank God for modern times

and for the people who really care. Please consider taking in a foster

child yourself if your life conditions permit, there's nothing more

gratifying.

2. The Vietnam Memorial Wall, located in Washington , D.C. serves two

primary principles in my opinion. One, is a remembrance to the 58,000

young men and woman who so gallantly gave their lives for what they

thought was a patriotic purpose. The Wall is also a reminder that this

nation shall never again give up their most prized and spirited young

citizens for a government with a such a mislaid agenda. There upon that

wall of death, is just not etched names but rather real lives, once

lives with hopes and dreams of a bright future. May we never forget

these young men and woman. They forfeited their youthful blood without

reason or question. And let us also remember the survivors of this

horrid war. The one's who returned home in disgrace and to see a nation

turn its back on them.

3. You can visit the same website as I mentioned in the story. Once you

are there, scroll to the bottom of the page and pick any letter A-Z.

The database of over 58,000 names and profiles are listed. This site is

absolutely mind-boggling when you experience the utter waste of human

life.

The Vietnam Memorial Wall:

http://tanaya.net/vmw/index2.html

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