Reader Letter: Cadet William B. Hoelscher III
October 20, 2005
I am probably the last demographic you and your publishers thought they would hit when you released your book. I am a Yearling at West Point and I turn 21 on November 2nd of this year. I was at home in North Carolina this past weekend, and we celebrated my birthday when I was home. I received an autographed copy of your book as my present from my parents. My grandparents moved to Garrison in 1970 and lived in an old farmhouse on Albany Post Rd. They are now buried at St. Philip's. I spent a lot of time there when I was a young. I was very close to my grandmother, and I have many great memories of Garrison from when I was younger. My mom told me that she and my dad used to buy their New York Times in Guinan's on our many visits to Garrison and had they known that they could go there for beers they would have spent a lot more time there.
I have been an avid reader ever since I was a little kid. Your book gave me a flood of memories and emotion that I had never experienced from a book before.
It reminded me that there is still something pure, and good, and alright in this world. We look around and we see all kinds of evil around us everything from Abu Ghraib to people telling me that I am a bad person for doing what I am doing. I was 16 when September 11th happened, turned 17 in November and enlisted in the NC National Guard in December because they were the only branch of the military that would take a high school junior. Since then I went to basic training as a private, West Point Prep School and now West Point. The entirety of what little adulthood I have under my belt has been spent in uniform during a time of war.
Because I was going to West Point, I was left behind when my unit deployed to Iraq; something which has haunted me ever since. I have no regrets about joining the military and I love it Sorry for the life story, but I figured that you would be able to understand me better if you saw where I was coming from…
You captured the spirit of "home" which is something many of us have been looking for. Durham is my home, and your book brings me home.
On November 5th, because I can't get out of here for a drink until then, I will be in a car with two of my best buddies heading over to Guinan's for my "first" beer. If you are around, maybe I will see you there.
CDT William B. Hoelscher III
USCC, Co. C-2
Author Note: CDT "Brad" indeed made it to Guinan's and has been a familiar face since. He graduates this May.