I’m proud to be able to say my dad was my hero. I was fortunate enough to have him around for 46 years. He died at age 78.
He was a good, decent, honorable man who did his best to teach his 3 sons what they needed to know to be men of honor. He was that. His word was his bond and a handshake was all you ever needed from him to know you had an irrevocable contract with him.
He was a 36 year career Army man. He joined as a private, worked his way up to the highest Non-commissioned officer rank and then went to Officer Candidate School. He rose to the rank of Colonel. He used to joke that he’d held every rank but warrant officer and general officer.
He was a cavalry officer – recon in those days. He always ragged me about being a grunt and loved the ground his only grandson walked on because he too had become a cavalryman.
There are things you remember about your dad. His sense of humor. He loved a good joke. His self-discipline. He always suffered bad health – he’d lost a lung in WWII, had emphysema and asthma. But he never let it stop him. Never. And when the doctors would tell him he had to do something, he did it, without fail and consistently.
He did everything else in his life the same way. Having to deal with those sorts of health problems and still try to maintain a career in the Army in combat arms wasn’t easy. But he did it.
He used to tell us, “you live between your ears”. We knew what he meant, and I can’t tell you how many times those 5 words have come back to me as I face some difficulty or daunting problem. Once you realize where you “live” life isn’t at all as tough as it could be.
He also used to tell us that honor could be summed up by “doing the right thing, even when no one is looking”. He said, that’s what honorable men always do. He was right.
He wanted what was best for his boys. He was a disciplinarian of the first degree and none of the 3 of us are worse for wear because of it. In fact, with a good moral grounding and him as an example, I think we all were given the basics in life which gave us a chance to be what our dad was – a good man.
Of course my mom was involved in all of this as well, but this is Father’s Day, and I wanted to honor him. I’m 62, a grandfather and I still miss my dad. I’d give anything for a couple of hours just to show him his grandson and his 4 great-gransons (he never got to see any of them). He’d love that.
So give your dad a hug today and tell him how much he means to you. Some day you’ll be glad you did.
Happy Father’s Day.
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