Orphan Survival Stories Index |
"It is hereby ordered that all civil and political rights of Roger Dean Kiser be and the same are hereby restored," read the words on the paper that I was holding in my hands.
After 40 years, the governor of the State of Georgia finally restored the rights I had lost due to my own foolishness.
I cannot tell you in written word just how much having these rights restored means to me. It is a wonderful feeling that for the first time in my life, I am able to vote or sit on a jury, but more than that is the feeling that I have partially made up for some of the wrongs I committed as a boy and young man.
I never really physically hurt anyone during my cross-country sprees many years ago. However, there were times when I took what did not rightfully belong to me. Sometimes, I violated the trust of my fellow man and the even the law itself.
I hope that these papers hold some form of forgiveness. I hope our governor and elective officials have the power to forgive those of us who in our youth made some terrible mistakes.
I wish I could tell the world the reason why, when I walked out of prison on February 6, 1969, I was never in trouble again. I wish I knew why after all those years of abuse in that Jacksonville, Florida orphanage; I never became a drug addict, an alcoholic or an abusive parent. I am sure that little secret is stored somewhere deep in my mind and would be beneficial to the world.
As I stand here today, I feel for the first time in my life that I can hold my head high. I know in my heart that I will never again violate the trust expected of me as an American citizen. Yes, being a good, honest, kind and upstanding American is a wonderful feeling.
I would like to add that I am honored, am so grateful and I thank you so much for believing that I am worth having ‘a second chance.’
Roger Dean Kiser, Sr.