For the small Midwestern town of California, Missouri, 1968 heralded another year when parents stared in dread at television screens sending images of soldiers mangled in Vietnam. Ernie and Christa Bates performed their daily toils, but never far from their thoughts was an only son named Aaron. The young man shared a strong Christian faith with his mother, and she prayed for him fervently, knowing that his prayers too were directed to God. But Ernie did not share their faith, could only invoke a spirit world that he knew existed, but did not trust. And while his son fought on soil half a world away, Ernie fought a grim battle in a world that he could not see.
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