- Posted June 15, 2014 by
Siloam Springs, Arkansas
This iReport is part of an assignment:
A Father's Day Rememberance
My father died July 3, 1955 when I was only two and a half years old. I swear to this day, I remember strong arms holding and playing with me, the smell of Old Spice (still my favorite to this day), and the aroma of Cherrywood Pipe tobacco (probably from a tobacco pouch I had from Dad until it literally fell apart). Growing up without a father in the 1950s and 1960s was tough, and I missed him daily, but I never forgot him.
My first "Dad" was my mom! I remember her learning the rules for various sports so she could teach my brother and me; she had our preacher teach her how to shoot a shotgun so she could be the one to teach me; she did so many things normally done by "Dads" back then that I gave her a Father's Day card when I was about 10 years old. I gave mom both Mother's Day cards and Father's Day card until the year that she died.
My second Dad was Paul Luna. He married mom when I was a 24 year old PFC stationed in Hawaii. Paul had served for 31+ years in our nations Navy and Coast Guard. The first time I saw him in uniform, I saluted the most gold on a sleeve and medals I had ever seen on a man. He was a kind, loving, and generous man to me and my brother, and a wonderful giving, loving, and sharing Papa to my children.
These two men and one woman, shaped me into the man I am today. Dad, I missed you so much growing up, and I was angry...very angry, at God for taking you so early. I love you Dad.
Mom, it's been nearly seven years since you have gone "home" and become pain free. You always knew how I felt, but I'll say it again, I love you and thanks for being both my Mom and Dad while I was growing up.
Paul, it's been thirteen years since you have left for your final reward; thank you for showing me grace and love. I will never forget that day in Pearl Harbor with you on the Arizona Memorial and you unashamedly crying over the loss of your childhood friend, and the healing that started when you hugged a Japanese man who was there presenting flowers to the men he had bombed on Dec 7th, 1941. It showed me that real men, real warriors can be and should be forgiving.
Happy Father's Day to all of the fathers out there; and to my children, I hope you know that even with all of the mistakes I made (and may still make), I am very proud to be your father.