When I was 9, I belonged to a Girl Scout troop. Mother's Day was around the corner, and we had a blast preparing skits and a tea party. Then came Father's Day preparations. My father had passed away the previous September after complications from cirrhosis of the liver. He had been an alcoholic, drinking away his memories of Vietnam and leaving us to deal with the pain.

So while the other girls planned father-daughter games, those of us without fathers were asked if we wanted to help during the celebration. I was too proud to decline but could barely stand to watch. My friends were having so much fun with their dads, laughing and falling down during the three-legged race. I tried to recall a time when I had had fun with my dad, but I don't think there was one. That day, I realized for the first time that those girls had something I didn't have, and never would.

On Saturday, I and a few other girls whose fathers had died got together at the scout leader's house to make wreaths for our dads' graves out of green garbage bags and wire. The next day, Father's Day, we delivered them to the cemeteries. I placed my wreath where my father was buried and quickly turned to walk away. Did I want to pray, the leader asked. No, I didn't.

Jennifer Wayne, Brambleton, Va.

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