12 May 2007
It has been a long time since I wrote a letter to you but, as you go to your Commissioning into the Navy and as you graduate from Drexel, I wanted you to know all the things that I have felt and experienced over the last 23 years being with you. While so much of this seems like yesterday, it is hard to believe that we are almost a quarter of century into your life and past a half century in mine.
These past couples of years have impressed upon me how much I appreciate your company as you have become a young man. While we were in Delaware, it was nice to have that closeness so that we could have that quick visit. What is now a longer drive will potentially become half a globe of distance. We will miss you. I know that I will strive to find ways that we can spend time but these will become events. I will miss the everydayness of life with you there.
I want you to know how proud I am of your accomplishments. You have shown the ability to achieve and you have learned that it takes hard work and unerring integrity. Sometimes, you have had to learn this the hard way but the results speak for themselves. You have gained a great education and you have attained your goals as you head into your Navy career.
I am also thankful that young men and women like you choose to represent our country as we try to make the world a better place. There will always be those who detract from what we bring to the world stage but I have the utmost confidence and pride in you because you are all of the good things an American should be. Do not ever sacrifice your beliefs and integrity for someone else. They are what make you what you are and that is a very good thing.
As I look back over the years, it is easier for me to remember the simple, quiet times we spent together. Putting you in a pack at 4 months and going cross country skiing, pulling you in a sled, playing with Topper in the yard, watching Lassie and the Wizard of Oz, putting a worm on a hook so you could fish, singing in church, the drives to soccer matches, driving to look at colleges. While they do not seem like much, they are what make life truly worth living – simple, quiet moments patchworked into beliefs, dreams, and being.
Thank you for recognizing that we must protect our ideals of equal rights to life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness. What you are doing now allows so many others to pursue their dreams without limits. Do this with the pride and integrity you have shown and you cannot help but be successful in everything you do.
Finally, live your faith in God and Jesus Christ. This provides such a strong foundation for facing the vagaries and challenges of the world. I know you will do this. I saw this in you when you read your “Letter to Parents” at Baccalaureate. Hard to imagine being more touched and prouder than that moment but here we are at another time of pride happiness and, yes, some sadness. You have not been our “little boy” for a while but this really puts the stamp on the transition.
Your mother and I love you very much. I am very proud to be your father as well as a friend. Nothing can ever change that and you can always, always count on me for support in whatever you may need.
With more love and admiration than you can ever imagine,