R.I.P., Pope John Paul II

I'm not a Catholic, but I still had a great deal of respect for the Pope and his accomplishments. He lived a long, full life. He was a voice for human rights and human dignity, and he was one of those who helped bring an end to Soviet communist domination in eastern Europe. I didn't agree with all of his policies, but I know that he was a good man.

I clearly remember where I was when I heard that he had been shot back in 1981, because it was my second day in the Army, and I was at the Reception Station at Fort Dix, New Jersey. That's the kind of thing that sticks in your memory.

I got the chance to visit Rome and Vatican City in March of 1986, while I was stationed in Berlin. I saw St. Peter's Basilica, the Pieta (which had been damaged by that madman and was behind plastic), the Sistine Chapel (which was being repaired) and some other things. But unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to see the Pope that day.

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