My dad was a Marine Corps officer. He was proud of his service and I am too.
Once when I was in high school I made some off-hand comment about joining up. The look on my Dad's face surprised me. He looked both horrified and angry. "What!" I said (as only a teen can.)
I'm not sure he ever found the right words to tell me that sending his kid off to be a Marine would probably be more than he could stand. Particularly a girl (Dad, for all his feminist politics, remains pretty old-fashioned about the role of females in the military.)
I flashed back to that very brief moment today when I was privy to a conversation between two of my twittermates. One has a son serving in the Gulf; the other a brother serving in Afghanistan-on the base that was under rocket attack yesterday.
Neither were wringing their hands and wailing. Neither was hysterical. They were in fact exhibiting great courage in difficult circumstances.
There are thousands of men and women serving our country today. Regardless of your politics, or how you feel about the war, their service deserves our respect.
And those men and women have fathers at home. Dads like mine who turned pale when their kid first said "I'm thinking of joining up." And dads, unlike mine, who didn't get let off the hook when the kid meandered off to college instead. Dads who put their kids on buses to Army training bases and recruitment centers. Dads who watch the news, or who can't bear to turn on CNN.
These dads serve too. Their service deserves our respect. They certainly have mine.
For all the dads of the men and women who chose to serve our country, thank you. Happy Father's Day.