Wayne, I know you are now in the Great Beyond or as you would say heaven. Well now that you and God are buddies, tell him that I'm still down here and need his help. I've known you a little over 40 years before you suddenly died. We grew up together in the neighborhood, the slums. But yet we still managed to get out to the farm lands and the forests. We camped, we fished, oh how you loved to fish. We hunted, and drank. And as years went by I would manage to visit you at your home in northern Idaho, we laughed a lot, cried a little and shared our Nam experiences like the brothers from different mothers we were.
We've both shared our PTSD struggles, our illnesses from Agent Orange, and helped each other. Your courage has always given me inspiration to fight my health problems. I wish that I could of spent more time together with you that last year, but we then, at 56 years old, we didn't know it was your last year.
When your wife called me and told me you were found deceased at your favorite fishing spot in the Rockies. I was shocked and yet i had to smile, because you did love fishing. Your passing has saddened me deeply, You never told me you had terminal cancer, you told your wife you didn't want the family and friends to treat you differently.
I think about my other Nam brothers over the last 30 years that have died years before their time, due to agent orange. Our government sent us over as "Brave young men", but little did we know we would leave a part of our souls over there. Little did we know my brother that we were killed by our government's chemical warfare, only to died here at home, and to contaminate our children.
And yet our government would think of us,"as faceless, expendables." Well my brother, you're past this now. You are still my brother, my hero, and soon we will fish together.