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Friday, May 31, 2013
MY SON, MY HERO
Tomorrow is a very special day. Tomorrow, June 1, 2013, marks my only son’s thirty-sixth birthday. Sometimes I joke that the day he was born was the worst day of my life. I say that because there were some delivery complications and I waited for some number of hours frightened of the outcome. The fact is it was the best day of my life. He fills in all the little spaces that I cannot. He is there when I need him and he needs me. I like that!
At twenty one he decided to join the army. I drove to Fort Sill, Oklahoma to watch him graduate basic training, which was an eye opener for me. There were plenty of parents there, together we watched our children march in formation, do coordinated calisthenics, and stand at attention. Practically without exception I saw the young people divert their eyes and glance at the smiling faces of their proud parents. I say virtually without exception because my son never looked my way, not once. His was a face of absolute concentration, a resolute focus that convinced me he would excel at whatever he undertook. His was the face of a man on a mission.
Within months he was invited to go through Selection. This is the Army’s thirty-nine day process of assessing who has the best chance of becoming a member of the Special Forces. Only three percent of those invited to Selection become Green Berets. This program defines and recognizes the best of the best. My son is one of the three percent.
He did his duty in Iraq twice, seven months each time. He overcame hardship, worked hard, and along with his small team accomplished his mission. He returned home safe and unharmed. Sometimes I think he leads a charmed life. He was in many situations, like an IED exploding under the Humvee he was riding in, where others were hurt, but he was not.
If there is any fear in my son, it never shows. He is kind, generous, and compassionate. He has an incredible intellect and an ability to see the world and its machines as they really are. I often wonder if I have made my mark in life. It occurs to me that my son is my legacy. He is the best of me without the worst. He carries my name and continually makes me proud. If people do remember me, it will be as his father.
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