They Leave Pieces of Their Hearts at Assistance Center
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 24, 2001 Many family members and loved ones of Pentagon attack victims are leaving pieces of their hearts on a tablecloth-covered table at DoD's Family (Casualty) Assistance Center in the Sheraton Hotel here.
The children of Dave Laychak left a card with a picture of him in the middle of a large red heart with the words, "We miss you and love you Daddy." Photo by Rudi Williams.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
They gingerly placed pictures of their lost loved ones, flowers, candy, mementos and memories, including personal typewritten and handwritten words of love and affection on the teardrop-stained tablecloth.
Visitors are invited to take a piece of candy in honor of Navy civilian employee James T. Lynch Jr., the "Candy Man." His family left a box of candy, a photograph and these words of love, inviting all who pass to take a piece.
"Every day during his lunch break he had a regular route handing out the candies to people, trying putting a smile on their faces. This practice extended beyond the Pentagon to giving candies to cashiers at stores, tellers or anyone that he felt needed a lift or a smile. Have a candy and a smile from the Candy Man."
The following excerpt is from a letter written by Army Chief Warrant Officer Craig Sincock to his wife of 25 years, Cheryle:
"To my wife Cheryle,
"Thank you, Cheryle, for over a quarter of a century of happiness and joy, friendship and love. Thank you for your patience when my ego became too big. You always had the right word or expression to bring me back to the correct place. Thank you for being there, even when I thought I wanted to be alone. You somehow knew what was good for me. Thank you being my friend. You never wavered and never doubted. Your trust in me made me feel worthwhile when I thought all was lost.
"I will be with you someday. Until then, please help me prepare myself correctly to meet you so that I may walk with you hand-in-hand for the remainder of eternity."
The family of Army civilian employee Samantha Lightbourn- Allen left "Angel Wings" and a picture of her as an expression of their love:
"The wings of an Angel, so pure and so white.
The wings of an Angel holding you holding you tight.
The wings of an Angel caressing your skin.
The wings of an Angel keeping the love within.
These wings from an Angel are my gift to you.
These wings from an Angel will help see you through."
The children of Dave Laychak, also an Army civilian employee, left a card with a picture of him in the middle of a large red heart. They simply wrote, "We miss you and love you, Daddy."
Army Spc. Chin Sun "Sunny" Pak's uncle left the following words of love:
Thanks for all your wonderful smiles and filling my life with sunshine,
So many people have left items that officials have set up a second table to accommodate all the pieces of grieving hearts.
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