To All the Fathers: You are our rock – Thank you Daddy

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“I am not ashamed to say that no man I ever met was my father’s equal, and I never loved any other man as much.” – Hedy Lamarr

“I know that I will never find my father in any other man who comes into my life, because it is a void in my life that can only be filled by him.” – Halle Berry

“My father was my teacher. But most importantly he was a great dad.” – Beau Bridges

“I pressed my father’s hand and told him I would protect his grave with my life. My father smiled and passed away to the spirit land.” – Chief Joseph

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“My father was not a failure. After all, he was the father of a president of the United States.” – Harry S. Truman

“Fathers, be good to your daughters. You are the god and the weight of her world.” – John Mayer

“Father I will always be
that same boy who stood by the sea
and watched you tower over me
now I’m older I wanna be the same as you” – Yellowcard

“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” – Clarence Budington Kelland

“A man’s desire for a son is usually nothing but the wish to duplicate himself in order that such a remarkable pattern may not be lost to the world.” – Helen Rowland

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” – Jim Valvano

“I decided in my life that I would do nothing that did not reflect positively on my father’s life.” – Sidney Poitier

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“When Charles first saw our child Mary, he said all the proper things for a new father. He looked upon the poor little red thing and blurted, “She’s more beautiful than the Brooklyn Bridge.” – Helen Hayes

“I talk and talk and talk, and I haven’t taught people in 50 years what my father taught by example in one week.” – Mario Cuomo

“I’m a father; that’s what matters most. Nothing matters more.” – Gordon Brown

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“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.” – Sigmund Freud

“My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, “You’re tearing up the grass.” “We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply. “We’re raising boys.”” – Harmon Killebrew

“A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.” – Author Unknown

“Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a dad.” – Author Unknown

“I love my father as the stars — he’s a bright shining example and a happy twinkling in my heart.” – Terri Guillemets

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“My daddy, he was somewhere between God and John Wayne.” – Hank Williams, Jr.

“It’s only when you grow up and step back from him–or leave him for your own home–it’s only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it.” – Margaret Truman

“To her, the name of father was another name for love.” – Fanny Fern

“No music is so pleasant to my ears as that word―father.” – Lydia Maria Child

“[He] adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector.” – Tom Wolfe

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“The quality of a father can be seen in the goals, dreams and aspirations he sets not only for himself, but for his family.” – Reed Markham

“When my father didn’t have my hand . . . he had my back.” – Linda Poindexter

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Yankee Stadium: A Father Son Journey

It was the final year of the house that Ruth built (1923-2008).

It was a warm Saturday in April, 2008 for the opening weekend at Yankee Stadium. The Bronx Bombers were starting the final year at the iconic landmark that not only had been the home to the greatest sports franchise in the world but the inspiration for dreams for nine decades. With the spirits of Ruth, Dimaggio, Mantle, Maris, Howard, Dickey, Mercer, Martin, Rizzuto and so many more in the air, a game at the Stadium was so much more than nine innings of entertainment; it was a testimony the the purity of competition, family, patriotism and legend.

As my father and I spend entered the subway in Manhattan after spending the morning with my brother, we could feel the anticipation as we moved quickly from the underground passageway to that famous above ground stop adjacent to the stadium in the Bronx on East 161st Street. The staleness in the air was subsided by the vision of men and women with Yankee Jerseys cheering and talking as the journey for one final World Series at Yankee Stadium was underway.

As we funneled out of the subway and set eyes on that vision, one can only feel a sense of honor. I know there are seven wonders of the world but if you grew up in the tri-state area, this was one of them. For my father who was a New Yorker, born and raised, this had to mean much more. This is a man who rarely misses a game. 162 up and 162 down. It could be TV or radio but he is there for his Bronx Bombers.

Vendors selling programs, the smell of hot pretzels and beer and one hour to game time. We finally got in and trekked up the ramp to our seats behind home plate. The grass never looked greener. Monument park was a vision with permanent etchings of the achievements of the greatest players in team history and Sam Shepard’s voice over the speakers.

Just a few years earlier we had taken a tour of the stadium, bowing to the immortal words of Joe D as we entered. We walked on the outfield grass, viewed monument park, stood in the radio booth and just absorbed history as we sat in the locker room seeing Jeter next to Ruth and A-Rod next to Gehrig. Words cannot properly express the feelings that rushed through my head (and I grew up a Mets fan). This family commitment has also led us to Legends Field in Tampa, Florida for spring training for a number of games under the sun. This is indeed a family affair.

I remember the game vividly. We browsed through the calendar that each of us received at the front gate and glued ourselves to each pitch knowing that in seven months, on one undermined day, the final game ever would be played in Yankee Stadium. It was not until two years later that the stadium was finally taken down, but when the final pitch came, that was the end. That was our goodbye.

We even got a free subway ride back to Manhattan. What a bonus.

Buildings, stadiums and landmarks come and go. Change is part of life and we must accept that life moves forward. What we take with us are the memories. This wasn’t as dramatic as losing the Brooklyn Dodgers to California as my mother would say, but losing the stadium was losing a piece of my childhood and innocence. As a child, we look to our heroes to help us define who we are and who we want to be. I still remember meeting Bucky Dent at a mall in Jersey, pretending I was Dave Winfield or Willie Randolph while playing at the park and collecting baseball cards til I turned blue.

Baseball is America’s past time. It is also a foundation for family. It has and continues to bring fathers and son’s together uniting on Saturday afternoons to cheer on our teams. Last year, I got a call that I got approved to take on a new challenge at work, one that I was so proud of and worked very hard to develop and justify. Where was I at the time I received the call? I was at the Yogi Berra Museum and Historical Center with my Dad watching the history of baseball evolve before our eyes.

It doesn’t take much to create a lifetime memory between a father and son. Some are meaningful and some are forever stored in the memory bank of our minds. On one warm Saturday afternoon in 2008, my father and I sat together overlooking a wonder of all sport and shared a moment that we will both remember always.

From my very first bike ride in the snow getting the original pack of baseball cards that started my childhood obsession and flipping cards to see what my brother and I would end up with to smelling the grass while the young stars warm up, baseball continues to be a very important part of my life and no thought of baseball ever goes by without the thought of sharing it with my dad.

Thank you Dad for the memories secure in my thoughts and the ones to come in the future..

Veteran’s Day 2015 – Thank you for your proud dedication and sacrifice

Today is a day of reflection and love for hundreds of thousands who have served or waited for their loved ones to return home from domestic and foreign lands.

It is a day we all experience in a different way. For some it is filled with sadness of the loss of a loved one or happiness because of the sacrifices made to preserve freedom throughout the world.

Whether you reflect on this day in silence or cheer, take a moment to remember. Remember the honor, dedication, sacrifice and commitment.

As a history major in my undergraduate days, I had the honor of studying under some of the most knowledgeable academic minds on the topic of history of the United States and foreign nations. I have taken that knowledge with me as I continue to see the world around me.

Each day, I wear the military dog tags of my father. He is still healthy and vibrant and I value every moment I spend with him; but I display it with pride for the dedication and commitment he gave to his family and his country. I may not have been born at the time or even a thought in his mind but I know somewhere in Europe, he thought about his future and now that future is the present and I am a very important part of it.

When I think of Tim and Necia and their three children, I cannot get sentimental at the story of their love. Two Air Force specialists who met in basic training, fought for the lives of others thousands of miles away and found their way into each others arms amid bloodshed and tears years later. Now as I see the unconditional love they provide to their children, I can only smile and embrace how I am fortunate to have them in my life as well.

To Dad, Necia, Tim and some many more that have affected our lives, thank you. I will continue to keep you in my thoughts and my life.