Although high school seems like ancient history at this point in my life there are some details that never fade. Part of the collage representing those years is a beautiful man name Dan Faggard. Kind, gentle, smart, quiet, personable, brave, all apply.
In the mid sixty’s he was my high school crush. As time passed and our journeys meandered in opposing directions we stayed distant friends, his shadow always lingering.
As a warrior in Viet Nam he was as stellar as his heart was huge. Dan is a hero of epic accomplishments although his humility kept it concealed from many. His Bronze Star Medal for valor fell short of revealing the deeds of this brave soldier that dared to put his own life on the line so many others could live.
As this new decade took hold, my personal life began to crumble. Support, empathy, compassion, generosity, respect were all part of Dan’s special touch in befriending me once again. He stepped forward when I could only recede. As before, his rescue was timely and lifesaving, but just for one – me. Although there was no bronze medal, there was on my part, eternal gratitude.
Now, his wings have changed from rotating over rice paddies to gossamer and flawless. He and Amy had found a peace that wrapped all his loveliness into leisure and loving. And he is still my friend, still gentle, wonderful Dan. His shadow still lingers beside me and will for eternity.
PS – Since writing this at the time of Dan’s death I have realized that we really lost Dan in Vietnam. He was never the same after he returned. Because there was little help readily available for his aching emotions Dan turned to self medication and to trying to pretend to others that his pain did not exist. Vietnam was really what killed him, it was just a slow painful death.
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