The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Lou Marzeles

A fitting story of timely transformation.


November 8, 2017

The young man who scraped a sharp instrument across The Wall That Heals when it was in Goldendale this past summer sent a shock wave of grave distress with that action. For the first time in the history of the Wall, damage had been intentionally done to it, and it seemed the name of Goldendale would be ensconced in disgrace for that villainy.

But Monday night at the Goldendale city council meeting, the same young man redeemed himself and created a new chapter in the Wall's history. The juvenile repented of his actions in moving words, acknowledging that he'd known nothing of the value of the Wall and what it represented, adding that he'd now come to an appreciation of the Wall, the Vietnam war, and the veterans who have served this country.

He plans to repeat his mea culpa at the veterans' dinner at the American Legion this Saturday night. He'll also be helping to prepare the meal.

You may remember this is the very course of action a reader encouraged in these pages some weeks back. The letter writer said this would be a most fitting act of apology. Seems the word got around.

But wouldn't it be great if this young man were able to take this message of attitudinal reversal to other parts of the country? Imagine the impact his testimony would have-going from from defacer to repentant appreciator -on other young people? He could help start ripples of awareness and understanding throughout multiple generations.

Part of why the scarring of the Wall was particularly painful was that it was done by a juvenile, and these days there a lot of them giving their generation a bad name. This one belies that notion, instead reminding all that a lot of kids are kindly, thoughtful, proactive contributors to their communities. His story is conspicuous in its drama and shift of perspective combined with high sensitivity today toward veterans and their role in our society. His message carries a commensurately conspicuous weight.

Let's hope he gets lots of invitations to speak out and even expand his message. He has the chance to be a major harbinger of hope and transformation. What better final redemption could there be than to make his story heard as broadly and fully as possible?

If he does receive such invitations, let's hope too that the kindness of strangers reaches out to him with financial support to enable him to make his sojourns of solace. That would be money very well spent for veterans, our young people, and ultimately the nation as a whole. From despair to triumph within the human spirit is ennobling and uplifting and a perfect story with which to enter this season of thanksgiving and divine intervention.


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