I was honored to be able to take my dad as my guest to the November Daughters of the American Revolution Luncheon honoring Vietnam-Era Veterans. Growing up we made many sacrifices as a family because of dad’s belief in service to something greater than himself – God and country – and because of that service, freedom for his family and all Americans. He lived out that belief for 37 years, never asking or expecting compensation or gratitude, quietly taking on the enormous weight and responsibility of the lives of the men who served under him and the task of raising them up to be the next generation of soldiers. I have seen the amount of respect he has earned over the years from so many who served under him, and I couldn’t be more proud to call him dad.
I’ve been asked many times over the years if I regret growing up with the military, or if I wish my childhood had been different and I have always said without hesitation – no. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard. It doesn’t mean I didn’t miss my dad being around. But we had a solid foundation in our family and mom took up the slack and keep us moving forward wherever we were and whatever we were doing. During the difficult times, mom taught me about strength and perseverance and dad taught me about honor and sacrifice. That’s what it means to grow up in a military family. My dad, my husband, and so many others in my family made the choice to sign over their life for the freedom and lives of others. To me, there is no greater sacrifice and it was an honor to be able to celebrate and recognize the men and women who are the very definition of American heroes.