Tribute to fathers Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 June 2017
By Chaplain (Maj.) Kevin Banks
Special to GUIDON

The Army’s  Birthday and Father’s Day occur in close proximity. This can remind us to reflect on the sacrifices of fathers who serve in the military.

The challenges of dads’ dual responsibilities to Family and country are profound, as they both call upon the sacred paternal commitments to provide and protect.  

Our 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt, was an Army dad. He loved his Family, as he wrote: “…no matter how things came out, the really important thing was the lovely life I have with Mother and with you children, and that compared to this…everything else was of very small importance...”   

And yet, it was love for Family that motivated his commitment to country, as he also wrote: “A man’s first duty is to his own home, but he is not thereby excused from doing his duty to the state; for if he fails in this second duty it is under the penalty of ceasing to be a free man.  Let us therefore boldly face the life of strife, resolute to do our duty well…”

The ancient Israelites made a different choice when they first faced this dilemma.  

According to Numbers 14, they declined God’s call to battle, citing their Families as an excuse: “Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should be victims?” To this seeming paternally responsible refusal, God replied: “You who have complained against me…shall by no means enter the land…But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in…”   

Years later, according to Joshua 1, God reissued his orders: “Arise…you and all this people, go to the land which I am giving to them…Be strong and of good courage...for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”  The new generation of Israelites responded with duty and courage, God went with them and took care of their families, and the nation was blessed.

This Father’s Day, thank military dads for making the difficult, yet honorable, choice of duty for the sake of a cause greater than themselves — to be guardians of freedom for their Families.  And also, thank God  for raising up such patriots.

(Editor’s note: Banks is the Military Police Regimental chaplain.)
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 June 2017 )