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  #41  
Old 06-25-2009, 11:21 AM
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Jaw dropping story. This is the kind of history that gets people's attention and makes them want to learn more. Stories like this made me change my major to history.

Teaching these stories will be my way of paying respect to all those who have served our country.

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  #42  
Old 06-25-2009, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rerussell View Post
WOW -- I didn't expect this much response to my post. And let me make this clear up front -- I don't want the gun back, I'm very happy it's with the OP and that he asked about daddy. My only request would be that a copy of my post(s) be kept with the gun as a tribute and history for my dad.

I found this post/site by googling daddy's name on a whim -- to see if there was anything on him besides his death record. When I open the link for this post and say the gun and read the question about it, it brought a tear to my eye and many happy memories.

Here's a copy of the letter daddy wrote regarding The Rape of Nanking:

RAPE OF NANKING
Editor -- It was with a deep sense of sadness that I read Charles Burress' article (Sunday, July 26) about the rape/ holocaust/massacre of Nanjing from December 1937 through January 1939.
You see, Nanking was the city of my birth, 72 years ago. My parents were Seventh-day Adventist missionaries, and my dad was attending the Nanking University Language School, learning Mandarin, when it was time for my arrival. I was born in the university hospital. Naturally, I would have an interest in the sad events that Mr. Burress writes about.
It is a shame that this atrocity was buried for so long. I am grateful to Iris Chang for bringing this horror to our attention. True, there were those of us who were aware of this crime and spoke out, but we were in the minority. The Japanese government was busy spinmeistering and denying that such a thing as that had happened, or could happen. Sadly, a lot of people believed them, especially the apologists and historical revisionists.
I have in my possession a VHS copy of the film taken by Dr. John Magee, and smuggled out of Nanking by Dr. George Fitch, the YMCA director. It is rather graphic. My dad got a copy of the film and showed it to service clubs, veterans organizations, church groups, and even to Hollywood dignitaries.
Suggested reading: ``Hidden Horrors'' by Yuke Tanaka; ``Blood and Bushido'' by Bernard Edwards; and ``Kempeitai'' by Raymond Lamont-Brown.
What goes around, comes around. Japan's economic woes may be a form of retribution.
ORVILLE A. BIERKLE, Pacheco

I'll look for the information on one of the books he contributed to and for the poem he wrote for the Chosen Few Newsletter -- if you'd be interested.

I also have the copy of daddy's birth record and service papers for Korea -- aside from that, I can think of no other way to prove who I am and that Orville A Bierkle is my father.

Thank you again for asking about him.
GOD bless your father and thank you for sharing his life story with us.
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  #43  
Old 06-25-2009, 8:52 PM
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Haaaand SALUTE!
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  #44  
Old 06-25-2009, 9:10 PM
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Thanks for sharing your father's story. I kept on thinking the guy that wrote this post has to be a southerner because of the use of Daddy, until I saw your name at the end.
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  #45  
Old 06-27-2009, 1:17 PM
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Amazing! I'm glad I opened this thread.
It is true then....Good Marines don't die,they just turn into Legends.
Semper Fi....ORVILLE A. BIERKLE...
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  #46  
Old 06-27-2009, 2:06 PM
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wow!
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  #47  
Old 06-27-2009, 2:17 PM
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I'm almost certain I met this Marine once.. I was working as a plumber out of Martinez california.. which is next to Pacheco, where this devil dog was living.. being a former marine, walking into his house was like entering a marine corp military history museum.. It didnt take me long to ask where he served.. and I was dumbfounded.. the chanjin reservoir(chosin) ... I had alot of respect for what he had to stay.. listening to his stories , none to indepth.. I didnt leave for 2 or 3 hours.. it was an Honor. Im not certain it was him.. but how many frozen chosin lived in pacheco.. a very small area.
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  #48  
Old 06-27-2009, 2:40 PM
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Awesome thread. what are the odds
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  #49  
Old 06-27-2009, 2:45 PM
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wow. very cool story.
Ruth, if you are serious about not wanting the pistol, then that's very nice of you.
BUT...
if you would like to have it back, i propose a donation pool to come up with the funds to buy the gun from Davidwhitewolf (if he is willing) and return it to your family. Davidwhitewolf can then buy another pistol to replace your father's, or use the money as he sees fit.
i personally will put up the first $20 towards this cause, and i'm betting many other Calgunners will chip in too. the CGN admins can handle the affair, if they see fit to, or we can make other arrangements.
just an idea.
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  #50  
Old 06-27-2009, 5:13 PM
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Wonderful story. I'm sure the op will cherish the pistol and it's history.
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  #51  
Old 06-27-2009, 5:22 PM
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I wish that some of my old guns could talk or that their history would just find me this way!

Great story with a great ending and a new beginning...

Billy
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  #52  
Old 06-27-2009, 5:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goober_0 View Post
wow. very cool story.
Ruth, if you are serious about not wanting the pistol, then that's very nice of you.
BUT...
if you would like to have it back, i propose a donation pool to come up with the funds to buy the gun from Davidwhitewolf (if he is willing) and return it to your family. Davidwhitewolf can then buy another pistol to replace your father's, or use the money as he sees fit.
i personally will put up the first $20 towards this cause, and i'm betting many other Calgunners will chip in too. the CGN admins can handle the affair, if they see fit to, or we can make other arrangements.
just an idea.
I'd donate to that.
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  #53  
Old 06-27-2009, 8:17 PM
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Truly living history.....I will pitch in if needed.
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  #54  
Old 06-27-2009, 8:39 PM
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Great story........Happy see it posted here in Calguns........
I will pitch in as well if needed. But I think she already made up her mind...
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  #55  
Old 07-01-2009, 9:52 AM
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Thank you to all who offered to donate for me to get the gun back -- I really appreciate it. I firmly believe the gun belongs to the OP -- my family would have no interest and I feel very happy that it's with someone who cares about it and will cherish it. Again, the only request I have is that the posts be put together, printed out and kept with the gun.

Taladeganite: you did meet daddy, he did live in Pacheco and I know he enjoyed talking with you very much.

Here's a copy of the poem he wrote for the Chosin Few Newsletter. While looking for it, I ran across the diary he'd written of his time in Korea.

The March of the Chosin Few

The march that begin in December of that
frozen long ago, continues to this day,
and into the future. The end will come
when the last of us fall out, called to
the Final Fraternity.

In the beginning, we were young,
strong, and determined. Our ranks were
thinned, be we carried on as the world
watched in wonder. We achieved our
goal – the sea – despite horrendous odds,
and to the chagrin of those who had
written us off; we did not stop but
continued onward.

For some, it was continued service, and
for others, it was home and hearth … but
the march went on. As the years progressed,
we went our various ways: families, schooling,
business, good times and bad. But we still
marched on.

As time progressed, our ranks grew less, as
those of us fell out when called to that Final
Fraternity – immortalized by the memories
left behind. Names of friends, strangers … yet
bound by that bond only we can share.
Still the march goes on.

We know not what the future holds, but
inexorably our ranks will grow smaller
as those of us fall out when called. Our
legacy and traditions will live on as
guides for those who follow their own
marches.

As for us, We’ll continue our own
March, which will go on, and on, and
on …..

Orville A. Bierkle (USMC E/2/7)

This poem was included in the diary, I don't think daddy wrote it. I'll share it as it obviously meant alot to him.

Whatever we were in that frozen
long-ago and whatever we are now,
we are bound as one for life in an
exclusive fraternity of honor

The only way into our ranks is to
have paid the dues of duty, sacrifice
and valor by being there. The cost
of joining, in short, is beyond all
earthly wealth.

And here's the info on the book he contributed to:

Korean Vignettes: Faces of War : 201 Veterans of the Korean War Recall That Forgotten War Their Experiences and Thoughts and Wartime Photographs of That Era (Hardcover)
by Arthur W. Wilson

Product Details
• Hardcover: 488 pages
• Publisher: Artwork Pubns (September 1996)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 0965312003
• ISBN-13: 978-0965312004

Ruth
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  #56  
Old 07-01-2009, 9:58 AM
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amazing story

Im very glad you decided to come on here with this information Ruth
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  #57  
Old 07-01-2009, 10:26 AM
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This thread keeps on giving. Ruth, thank you for sharing the information about your father. I'm kind of at a loss for words after seeing what took place here...
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  #58  
Old 07-01-2009, 10:28 AM
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Wow best 15 minutes of reading I've done yet. Thank you Ruth and thanks to the OP for searching for infomation or we would never know one of our true Patriots.
Thank you

this is now tagged.
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  #59  
Old 07-01-2009, 10:41 AM
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I agree, best thread ever.
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  #60  
Old 07-01-2009, 10:43 AM
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Wow! I am blown away by all this!
To see this go full circle is awesome.
Ruth, thank you so much for taking the time to register and post all this info.
I love this kind of history.
I can't explain why, but both my eyes have something in them right now...
Also, Ruth, I have to ask why you googled your father's name at this particular time. Do you do this often or just a feeling you got to check now?
Yes, this is one of the best threads ever on Cal Guns, and Ruth, you helped make it this way. Thank you again for sharing these stories with us.

OP: you are a very lucky man to be the owner of history that can be held in your hand. I am sure you will take care of this amazing history piece with the proper care and respect it deserves.

I have to say again how terrific this all is.
You have all made my day already.
Thank you!
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  #61  
Old 07-02-2009, 11:55 PM
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WOW! This thread delivers.. Ruth Im sure your pops is very happy right about now. Thank you sir for your honored service.

The OP is nowhere to be found.
Last Activity: 06-29-2009 01:29 PM
Im sure that he will be floored when he comes across this. I really think you two should talk and hopefully share a picture or two.
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  #62  
Old 07-05-2009, 8:02 PM
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Great thread!
My father is a retired Marine and served in H&S Co., 2/7 during the Korean War. He landed in Korea on 1 April 1951 so he wasn't at the Chosin.
Nonetheless, I remember him telling me there were still a few old timers in the battalion that had been there during his time.
I have emailed him, linking this post and will see if he can share any additional info on Orville A. Bierkle.
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Last edited by MrTenX; 07-05-2009 at 8:10 PM..
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  #63  
Old 02-18-2010, 7:44 PM
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Well, this will teach me to not check back on a thread. Here it is Feb 2010 and I'd decided to finally get around to inquiring with the unit historian, so I thought I'd reread the thread -- and I'm just now seeing everything following my last post a year ago after I learned the owner's unit history. To say I'm floored would be an understatement. I am simply astonished that Mr. Bierkle's daughter found my inquiry.

I myself did not serve, so I've considered owning a Marine's revolver an honor and a privilege from the moment I noticed the name and branch stippled on the frame. Ruth, you can't possibly imagine how much more of an honor it is now that I know more about the gun's provenance, your father, and his service and character. I truly cherish this gun and will keep a copy of this thread with it, as well as printing copies of the poems separately and framing them. If by chance you see this thread and you are willing to make copies of any other of the documents you mention, such as his service record, I will frame and keep them with it as well. I was recently at the SHOT Show and ran across a catalog for a company that specializes in shadowboxes to memorialize a veteran's service with appropriate pins, service awards, and the like as well as space for mementos such as the poems you so graciously shared.

Regardless, Ruth, if you ever change your mind about the revolver, or if another member of Mr. Bierkle's family should evince the slightest interest in owning it, I will give it over in a heartbeat. No donations/collections needed -- this thread is its own reward.

Ruth, my email address is davidwhitewolf@yahoo.com. I have family in Concord and Pleasant Hill and am in the area often if you would care to meet.

Best Regards, and many thanks to Calguns, Ruth, and her father for his service --David
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Last edited by Davidwhitewolf; 02-18-2010 at 7:57 PM.. Reason: Just had a lot more to say. Frankly, I'm overwhelmed.
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  #64  
Old 02-18-2010, 7:48 PM
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wow
this is one necro i'm super happy to see resurrected... in fact a while ago i was trying to recall this thread when folks were posting what a moving and special story was unfolding in another thread... but i couldn't recall enough of the specifics to find this one in a search.
thanks for posting the followup!
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  #65  
Old 02-18-2010, 7:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidwhitewolf View Post
Well, this will teach me to not check back on a thread. Here it is Feb 2010 and I'm just now reading everything after the post where I learned the owner's unit history -- I am simply astonished that Mr. Bierkle's daughter found my inquiry.

I myself did not serve, so I've considered owning a Marine's revolver an honor and a privilege from the moment I noticed the name and branch stippled on the frame. Ruth, you can't possibly imagine how much more of an honor it is now that I know more about the gun's provenance, your father, and his service and character. I truly cherish this gun and will keep a copy of this thread with it. If by chance you see this thread and you are willing to make copies of any other of the documents you mention, I will frame and keep them with it as well.

Regardless, Ruth, if you ever change your mind about the revolver, or if another member of Mr. Bierkle's family should evince the slightest interest in owning it, I will give it over in a heartbeat. No donations/collections needed -- this thread is its own reward.

Ruth, my email address is davidwhitewolf@yahoo.com. I have family in Concord and Pleasant Hill and am in the area often if you would care to meet.

Best Regards, and many thanks to Calguns, Ruth, and her father for his service --David
This guy is a class act........Great to be in a similar space with you.
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  #66  
Old 02-18-2010, 8:00 PM
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I just noticed that Ruth's last CGN post was in July of last year, so on the assumption that she's not an active Calgunner, I'll also email her directly.
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  #67  
Old 02-18-2010, 8:00 PM
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This is one of the most amazing threads I have ever read.. just wow....
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Well, glad you got the kit anyways, I'm sure I'll fondle it a little in the near future..... oh God, that's going to be in somebody's signature....:D
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put me in line, but if Peter W. Bush takes it, I need to be removed from his Signature line.......:D
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  #68  
Old 02-18-2010, 8:02 PM
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Now it has truly gone full circle.
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  #69  
Old 02-18-2010, 8:13 PM
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I have something in my eye...
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  #70  
Old 02-18-2010, 8:18 PM
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wow...I hate to plagiarize countless posts before mine...but this is the best thread EVER!
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  #71  
Old 02-18-2010, 8:51 PM
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Best thread ever on CGN.

Some photos of Mr. Bierkle would be a great addition to this thread!

Amazing!

M
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  #72  
Old 02-18-2010, 9:11 PM
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+ 1

Best ever. Period. Thanks.
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  #73  
Old 02-18-2010, 9:36 PM
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wow...
amazing coolness...
gee my allergies must be acting up or something..better go blow my nose....
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  #74  
Old 02-18-2010, 9:59 PM
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I am completely speechless. I started reading this since I have a Arisaka bayonet with the name of the soldier that captured it hand stamped on the both the blade and the handle.

His name was Charles Oldephant and I'll keep my fingers crossed that a family member does a search for his name. This is the most incredible thread I have ever seen since I have owned a computer and we're talking Arpanet days.

Holy Smoke this should be a huge story to bring attention the CalGuns in the media.
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  #75  
Old 02-18-2010, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MPMillen View Post
Best thread ever on CGN.

Some photos of Mr. Bierkle would be a great addition to this thread!

Amazing!

M
Trust me; if I can get in touch with his daughter I hope to have much more than that added. If the Internet is truly forever, I want this thread to serve as one form of memorial of the man. I'm blogging about this too....

Here's the revolver, sitting on a printout of this thread as I type. (For purists: the rear sight and grips were added by me; I have the originals safely stored.)



Given what appears will be an extensively documented provenance, as well as the historical significance of Mr. Bierkle himself -- born in Nanking, his parents witness to the Nanking Massacre, then carrying this revolver in Korea and presumably during Chosin, and preserving the sole surviving copy of an important documentary of the Rape of Nanking -- I would say this revolver should be a prime candidate for donation to the National Firearms Museum. Didn't think I'd ever say that about one of my guns! (Donation in my will -- that is, when I die, not before -- unless Ruth says otherwise).

Look what I found -- a report by his father on what they experienced during the evacuation from the Rape. Mentions Orville as a child, in a rickshaw.
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Last edited by Davidwhitewolf; 02-18-2010 at 10:27 PM..
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Old 02-18-2010, 10:33 PM
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this is an old thread that I'm definitely pleased to see again. One helluva story behind the gun that guarded the life of another helluva story.

thanks for keeping us posted
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Old 02-18-2010, 10:40 PM
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Wow... wow.
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Old 02-18-2010, 10:56 PM
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Here's more about Orville's father, Arthur N. Bierkle, and his role in preserving and publicizing the documentary evidence of the Japanese atrocities before his death.

Also, Wikipedia's article on Magee and his film illuminates its importance in the face of Japanese denials:

"These films recorded men being beheaded by the Japanese army, women raped, and babies who lost parents with corpses lying all over in villages. They are the earliest and the most complete photo evidence of the massacre."
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Old 02-18-2010, 11:22 PM
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This thread rocks.
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Old 02-19-2010, 2:44 AM
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Man, I am glad this got bumped up and even more glad that I got a chance to read it. Simply amazing the way it turned out
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