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Monday, May 29, 2006

In Memoriam

Why did Willie Edward Carter have to die?

Willie Edward Carter was the oldest of the six Carter boys from the Eastside Projects in Patterson, New Jersey. After he graduated from Eastside High School – several years before Joe Clark got there – he was drafted into the Army and sent to the front lines of the Korean War. Willie survived the ravages of war for several months, but as the North Koreans pushed south during the Battle of Chipyong-ni in 1951, the eldest brother of my father was reported missing and presumed dead.

Why did Willie Edward Carter have to die?

My uncle Willie was barely out of high school when he was shipped off to fight a people that posed no threat to the United States of America. My uncle Willie was just a youth when he was sent to fight and kill people who couldn’t find Patterson, NJ on a map if their life depended on it. My uncle Willie was just a boy when he died.

Why?

There is no Willie Edward Carter Jr. There is no Mrs. Willie Edward Carter. There is nothing left of Uncle Willie except the faint memories carried by his surviving brothers and the tales that they’ve told to us, his nephews and nieces. On this Memorial Day I honor Uncle Willie, Willie Edward Carter, and I ask, "Why did Willie Edward Carter have to die?" How many more generations will be forced to ask why their uncles and fathers and mothers and aunts had to die? Will they reminisce over you?

Peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 3:00 PM

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