Forgive me for my being today. I am extremely torn with feelings of joy and sorrow and grief. While it is the 10 year anniversary of that horrific day on American soil that killed thousands and has changed the history of the world every day since; thousands of my veteran brothers and sisters have paid the ultimate sacrifice to bring justice to those that have brought this upon us, my baby turns 16 today.
I was the soldier. I served eleven years in the United States Army. While serving in a job field that kept me from serving in hostile environments (not that I didn’t always have some munition targeting my workplace, generally from our side) I continually volunteered to go the theater where Americans were protecting our interests and constitution. Why? Because I swore an oath that I would. I never made it into theater, but I definitely supported efforts of my brothers and sisters that wore the uniform and put their lives in harms way.
For the last 10 years, on this day, I have had to try to answer the question, “Why today Daddy? Why do I have to share my joyous day with such a terrible event?” How do you answer that to a child that should be able to see the joy in the eyes of others when she is in public. I am sure, she mostly sees grief and hurt. How hard it has to be for her. 16 today. How special is her day going to be with every thing she will see on TV or hear on the radio is about the devastation and the remembrance?
April 19, 1995 – my wife worked the Oklahoma City bombing. She was a young nurse and was called downtown to work triage. The things she has seen, the sounds she has heard and smell that accompanies such events can never be shaken. Today will be hard on her and every first responder and their families today.
I have great joy in my heart, for I do have a little princess that is 16. She, along with her elder brothers and sisters are outstanding young people all living their lives and chasing dreams that are only possible to chase in a free society. All five are healthy, intelligent and mostly make the right decisions! I hope you, my princess to have the best Sweet 16 you could ever dream of today.
I have great joy for I have a wife that is selfless in her love for her family. She never tires, or doesn’t show it, in her role to make our world better. I never tell her enough how much I appreciate her, and I try to remind her. She isn’t one for seeking praise from others and I feel she feels a little embarrassed by the adoration, but she truly deserves every compliment that we can give her.
While I chose the path to defend, and did not get to fully serve as I wanted, my family has been directly scarred by significant events. I know these are things that I have less than zero control over, but as a man, husband and father, I feel my badge of protector is tarnished.
So for these few reasons, please forgive me today if my mood swings a little, and my thoughts are either a little dark or full of sunshine, for you see today is a tough day for me as dad, husband and American.