Cherish time together this Father’s Day

  • Published
  • By Col. Jerry Martinez
  • 62nd Airlift Wing commander
Once each year we set aside a day to specifically thank the fathers and father figures who have so profoundly touched our lives.

It's no secret that fathers play a huge role in shaping the character of their children.

What is less visible is how they, along with mothers, help ensure the strength of our nation by introducing their children to the ideals that define us as Americans.

Along with teaching children the basics of reading a book or riding a bike, fathers help reinforce time-honored values in their children, such as hard work, respect, honesty and good citizenship.

Through their words, actions and sacrifices, fathers play a crucial role in shaping the character of their sons and daughters.

While this profound legacy is something we can be grateful for every day, take this Sunday as an opportunity to pick up the phone, send a card or go visit "dad" to say thanks for all he's done.

During this time of prolonged conflict in the War on Terror, it's impossible not to notice the extra demands placed on the fathers serving our nation.

We now have more than 800 McChord Airmen deployed around the globe supporting our wartime mission. Many of those Airmen are fathers.

While e-mail and videotaping stories and messages can help families stay in touch, it can be tough for deployed dads to serve as advisors, role models and friends to their children while serving abroad.

Unfortunately, nothing can replace the time spent with a son or daughter in the backyard tossing a ball or taking a long walk to really connect with their kids.

This is why it's so important to cherish the time each of us has with our families.

With the pace and duration of deployments steadily rising, it's difficult to predict when any one of us may be called upon to serve far from home.

The good news is that today's kids are growing up with a good understanding of the many demands placed on their parents -- both the dads and moms who go and those who stay behind.

This weekend we'll certainly have some children missing their dads.

But, if they're old enough to understand, I bet they're awfully proud of what their fathers are doing for our nation.

I, too, wish to express my heartfelt appreciation for the leadership, support and protection both fathers and mothers provide for their families and our nation.

By advancing freedom and protecting our way of life, these courageous individuals are paving a foundation of peace for future generations.

A hearty thanks to all the fathers serving around the globe this Father's Day!