Father’s Day this year falls between two historic celebrations. The 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion on the beaches of Normandy, France, which ultimately led to the end of Nazi oppression in Europe. The second, the 50th anniversary of the United States landing a man on the moon and astronaut Neil Armstrong's famous words as he took the first step on the moon’s surface:
"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
These two celebrations highlight the role of men in our nation's history. One was a time of profound fear and a questioning of whether this world had the righteous courage to defeat a most pestilent evil that threatened the very foundational values upon which our nation was founded. Farm boys and college boys set aside their plows and textbooks to take up arms. They fought professional armies. Soldiers that had been trained from their youth to fight. And they won. They returned humbly back to their country to again take up their tasks and blend into the background, never asking for honor or attention.
The other, put a brilliant spotlight on the courage of men to rise to a challenge to conquer the unknown, to truly go where no man had gone before. In both events, American men did the impossible, the unthinkable, but the necessary.
Our nation is in the midst of a most divisive cultural conflict. The "Me Too" movement along with the recent high-profile drama of Justice Cavanaugh's appointment to the Supreme Court and the seemingly endless criticisms from all corners of society have put enormous negative pressure on the American male. He has become the latest object of scorn and ridicule by the media and many candidates running for public office. CEO's are run out of the companies they founded because they take an unpopular political, cultural, or moral stance. Politicians and leaders in all ranks of business are forced into resigning due to pranks or immature words from their college days. To many of us men, we see it as open hunting season on character assassination by the disjointed political left and the far-edge crowd who represent the fringe groups of extremists in this country.
The backbone of this country was made up of the men who rise daily to accept the duty of responsibility. Who labor to protect and provide for their families. Who would lay down their lives for their families and their friends, and even for a stranger they have never met.
This country was born in a baptism of bloodshed during the Revolutionary War. Fifty-five men signed their death warrants when they put their signatures to the Declaration of Independence. Six hundred thousand men died in the horrific Civil War. Over one hundred thousand men died fighting in France in World War I. Two hundred fifty thousand men died fighting in World War II. Fifty-five thousand men died in the jungles of Vietnam. Another fifty-thousand plus men died in the Korean was. Many thousands of other men died in various wars, skirmishes, conflicts in the name of defending our country's values and honor.
Millions of men battle daily the challenges of life to give their families a good life, to put food in their children's bellies, to provide a roof over their family’s heads, to clothe their children and educate them and nurture them into adulthood. They are the truck drivers, construction workers, architects and engineers, assembly line workers, managers, accountants, custodians, teachers, along with a hundred other professions occupied mainly by men.
I certainly am not minimizing the role of women. But the fact is that the foundations of this nation were laid by men, defended by men, paid for by men. The vast majority of crosses in military cemeteries lie over a man’s body. It was mainly the blood of men that soaked into the soils of this world. The sea was red with the blood of men at Normandy's beaches.
On Mother’s Day along with many other days, you would think I believe that women are the main reason for the successes we see in life. I could never in a million years pay proper tribute to womanhood. But today.... could we just perhaps for a little while, bow our hearts in gratitude to those figures who pass us as shadows of greatness in the formative years of our lives? Those who would have left, as many others did, to fight for and die for the freedoms we have.
Yes, today, I bow my heart in gratitude for that one person in my life whose praise means more than all others. Whose look could wilt me or cause my little boy's spirit to soar. Whose hand disciplined me and protected me. Whose labors fed me, educated me, clothed me. The greatest of men: My Father.
When is the last time you thanked those men in your life for all that they do daily? Be sure to do so today, if your father is still alive. And recognize the greatness and glory of manhood in this nation. We are rich in strong men, and we should be grateful for such a resource.
Happy Father’s Day to all you good, solid, humble men who make up much of the greatness of this nation!