This is an annual Veteran’s Day tribute to Dad and a shout out to those who have served in the military in defense of our great country, this one nation under God. Thank you!
I failed to honor one veteran for too long. I did not want anything to do with Dad and certainly did not care to honor him. He was a violent alcoholic and the family suffered the consequences. After having our last run in, I left home at a young age with two prayers and one goal – I prayed I would be blessed with a happy and healthy marriage and family, and that I would keep my family well above the poverty line I had grown up below; My goal was to go as far as I could in the opposite direction of my dad.
All was going well with that plan. I had not talked with Dad for 15 years - He did not attend my high school graduation, college graduation or wedding. Then our daughter was born. I could no longer deny having something in common with Dad – we were both dads. I invited him down to meet his new granddaughter and he accepted.
We were living in Midland, Texas at the time and I scheduled a trip to visit the Nimitz Museum in Fredricksburg. It was 1986. The museum was quite small but it offered some of the most realistic views of the Pacific theatre during World War II. Dad had been a Hellcat pilot off the USS Wasp. When I saw actual footage of the Hellcats taking off and landing on the aircraft carriers as well as those that crashed in the Pacific with little chance of survival, I was convicted that I had passed judgment on a man I had no right to judge. If I had been in a cockpit engaged in air combat in my mid 20’s and had to watch as a number of buddies went down while trying to return to the ship, I may not have been able to turn from the alcohol either. I asked if he would forgive me. He did.
We reconciled and established a relationship that opened the door for Dad to know our daughter and to meet his only grandson. Dad passed in 1994. Ma had said at one point that the man she married before the war came back a different man. I think it is obvious that anyone going into battle will be different as a result. Tip your cap and say, “Thank you,” to veterans you see any day of the year. And if your dad has struggled to deal with battles he has faced in war or in life, take the initiative to be reconciled before any more time gets by.
"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you." – Exodus 20:12. This is the commandment with a promise.
Tips to Be Reconciled:
- Initiate an honest discussion on thoughts around your relationship;
- Exchange real expression of feelings about the past;
- Confess and ask forgiveness as you are led;
- Commit to build a new relationship.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for the many gifts and blessings in my life. Thank You for turning my heart to honor my father, to accept that he did the best he could do with life choices he faced. Thank You for Your Word and Your love that guides me through life choices I face in becoming the man, husband & father You expect me to be. Amen.
A faithful father reconciles relationships to honor his father and mother.