As I walked along the path feeling the pain all over again, I thought of

how many others had walked this same path, felt this same pain and the

anger that I was feeling. To my left was a black stone wall that seemed

to block out the sun. And on my right were people laughing, and talking,

children playing and birds singing. I wanted to scream. I wanted them to

remember, I wanted them to know, to feel the pain I was feeling. I

looked up and saw a boy kneeling before the wall talking. I approached

him to see what he was doing. He looked up at me, and smiled.


"This is where my Daddy lives." The boy pointed to an engraved name on

the Stone Black Wall. "I come here all the time and talk to him. I never

met my Daddy, he was gone saving people's lives when I was born. And

before he could come home, he got hurt and went to Heaven. I miss him

all the time and wish he hadn't died, but then I get mad at myself for

being selfish. If my Daddy hadn't died, people wouldn't have lived. I

put my picture by him so he wouldn't forget what I looked like. On the

back I put my age, because today is my 5th birthday. I sure wish he was

here, but instead of getting sad I get happy because I know my Daddy is

a hero."


As I walked away from the boy, I began to cry. The tears weren't tears

of anger or pain, but tears of joy because I knew a hero, too.


June 1995

Washington, DC

Dodie Anne Hecker, 14 years old