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Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

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Terry arrived at the house via bus, and when he walked in the door, my heart leaped. At that time, there were many demonstrations and a great deal of anger directed at soldiers. It was excruciating to see the news and know that my brother was risking his life daily to serve his country while a large portion of our country was angrily opposing the war. I wanted a chance to let him know how proud I was of him.

The first few hours flew by with numerous questions. Although Terry remained elusive about much of his experiences in Nam, he told us some stories about his buddies and his R&R’s. I’m sure we got the watered- down version. We knew he wouldn’t be staying long due to friction with Dad over his enlistment and his desire to see old acquaintances. He was hamstrung by not having transportation, though, and he had plans to hitchhike or take buses to maintain his independence.

After a big celebratory meal of all his favorites with mom, my little sister, myself, and even dad hanging on his every word, I finally got a moment alone with him. “Hey,” I said, “would you come outside with me for a minute?” “Sure, kid,” he grinned. “I need a little break anyway.” We stepped into the front yard and approached my precious possession, parked in front of the house.” I bought this two weeks ago. Want to take a look?? He opened the door and adjusted the driver’s seat to his 6’4″ frame and said, “Wow, it even fits me!” He looked it all over, including the engine, and was suitably impressed.

“That’s awesome, kid. Now, you better hurry up and get your license.” “I will in August, but for the next 30 days, it’s yours,” I said as I handed him the keys. His mouth dropped open, and he replied, “You can’t! You just got it! and what if something happens to it?” “I can and will. If something happens, I have insurance, and mom and dad both approve. It means the world to me to be able to do this while you’re here and let you know how much I love you and let you have the freedom to come and go as you want.

Terry was not usually emotional, but as he went to hug me, his eyes glistened with unshed tears. Un-doubtedly, it is one of the best things I have ever done for anyone.

At the end of his leave, Terry returned my car, polished it, and waxed it before he shipped out to Germany.  After that assignment, he returned to civilian life. His days were not easy, and he bore unseen scars from Vietnam for the remainder of his life.

He died in 2004 at the age of 54 from pancreatic cancer associated with Agent Orange. There are so many things that I wish I’d done or said. Still, I cherish the memory of the day that I was able to surprise him with a gift that allowed him to be in-dependent of family and friends and to enjoy the brief sojourn from the hell he had experienced. your dreams will take you very far.

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