Daniel Oscar Castillo was my first-born. He was born on July 20, 1977---and past away January 20, 2001 (his mother's birthday).

Danny, I know that I was not the father that I was supposed to be because of the distance that separated us. I am very sorry for not being there from the beginning. I know that I let you down in more ways then one. Being a father doesn't mean that we instinctively know all the right things to do, or not to do. What relationship we had hadn't always been easy, and I'm sure I've said and done things that had hurt or confused you. You have had several great father figures in your life that taught you the rights and wrongs and who claimed to be your DAD. I had learned to accept the fact that I was only your father.

During the years, we got together once in a while but mostly talked on the phone. At times, I was there for you and at times I was not. When I was there, I found out that you were my greatest accomplishment and the source of endless pride, especially when you made Drum Major. You were exceptional in so many ways and an intelligent caring young man who had a great love for music. You were the perfect son.

And then it got worse, when your mother called with the bad news. She stated that you were very sick. I remember asking her, "Does he have a bad cold?" When she told me that you "Were full blown." I went into shock asking who, when, and where. She told me that you had contracted the virus during your high school years. We tried our best to deal with it but always-questioned why you? As time went on, we became closer. In one of our visits to your doctor, I could not fail to notice several young students in the lobby. I was now being aware on how this virus was going to destroy your generation.

At the end, eight years later, I spend the last few weeks in and out of the hospital with you. Then you chose to spend your last days at home with Arden and your close friends. We saw you struggling so hard not to let go. After your last 7 days without eating, we all whispered to you, "that it was OK to let go" and assured you that your grandmother was waiting for you.

Danny, this was suppose to be part of your eulogy, but was denied the privilege to address it.

I guess what I am trying to say Danny, is that I am very proud to have been your FATHER and gotten the opportunity to be your DAD during your hardest struggle of your life. You sister, Crystal BiAnca and your brother, C-4 will miss you always…you are MY child, that will never change and I will love your forever and that is also unchangeable.

Your Father

As you have figured out, Danny died of AIDS.

Danny Castillo (center) Drum Major.