As Father’s Day approaches, I am reminded of a question I have been asked many times over the past 16 years: “Aren’t you worried about your son serving in the Army during these times of world conflict?”
My answer is always the same: “No. I am concerned, but not worried.”
My son, you see, has wanted to be soldier since he was about seven years old.
As a child, when Adam was asked where he wanted to go to school and what he wanted to be when he grew up, his unhesitating reply was, “I am going to go to West Point and be a soldier.”
In 1993, my son graduated from Douglas County High School in Douglasville and he did, in fact, attend West Point. He graduated in 1997 and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant. These past 16 years have provided him the opportunity to do what he wants to do: be a soldier and fly helicopters. He serves in the best Army in the history of the world and works with the best soldiers ever.
During the past 16 years, Adam has deployed numerous times and has been in harm’s way more times than I care to think about.
But how do you worry about someone doing what he loves, what he has been trained to do, and something he is good at?
So again I say, I don’t worry, but I do have serious concerns.
My concerns are there because I, too, served in the Army for more than 27 years.
I entered service in 1966 during the midst of the Vietnam conflict and recall that serving one’s country was not a very popular profession at the time. I witnessed that change over the years, and during Operation Dessert Storm, the nation rallied behind the military and fully supported our troops.
My concern is that our nation not forget that those serving to protect our freedoms do so voluntarily and continue to need our full support and prayers.
“Are you worried?”
My parents were asked the very same question when I was serving, and I suppose every parent is asked how they feel about their child serving.
The truth is, I am sure each parent has the same mindset as me.
I am concerned, but not worried.
My son is doing what he wants to do and has been trained to do. He is good at what he does and, as a father, I’m damned proud of him for doing it — just as I am sure my father was proud of me.
So this Father’s Day, I look forward to getting the call that I always get from him.
Whether he was in school or deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, he’d call and say, “Hi Pop, I just wanted to say Happy Father’s Day and to let you know that I love you and I’m thinking about you.”
After 27 years in the U.S. Army, Jim Frederick retired in 1993 with the rank of colonel. He lives in Douglasville.