Fifteen years ago the world came crashing down.
My father, a Navy veteran of World War II, died in his sleep of a heart attack on August 21, 1997. He was 71 years old – too young to die. Too soon for those of us he left behind.
You see, he was the Rock of Gibraltar. He was the man we all hoped we would be when we grew up. A world war and service in the Navy had changed his perspective on what was important. He had been a rebel as a youth, but the military taught him the futility of that kind of lifestyle. After he returned home he got his act together, and when his four boys arrived he passed on what he had learned.
He taught us honor when confronted by temptation.
He taught us humility when rewarded with success.
He taught us to laugh when faced with adversity.
He taught us faith by giving us a choice – mow the lawn or go to church – knowing which option we would choose.
He taught us perseverance by allowing us to join any team or organization we wanted – but never quit.
He taught us character. He insisted on character.
More than anything, he taught us what it means to be a good father. He died too early for us, but not too early to teach us what we really needed to know.
Fifteen years ago. We miss you big guy.