Papa’s Song: Man, myth, legend

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Nathan Byrnes
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.— When it came to celebrating Father’s Day in my house; growing up it usually consisted of my brothers and me throwing a big slab of meat on the grill, you know, real man stuff, while my mom did most of the actual work cooking the other side-dishes.  


The gift giving usually consisting of us getting our dad some sort of new tool or exercise apparel followed by a card, usually some sort of humorous message letting him know how much we love him, nothing too touchy-feely.


As I get older I realize that Father’s Day isn’t just a day to cookout for dad, or for him to get more tools. It’s about honoring all the men who act as a father figure and appreciating all that they have done, and continue to do for us.


It’s difficult to put in words what my dad has meant to me in life. I mean, how can one truly thank someone who has done so much for you? The answer that I came to is that you really can’t, the only thing you can do is try to be the man that he has raised you to be.


People who know me, know that I’m not the emotional type, but I felt like it was important to share how much my dad means to me this Father’s Day.


Back in 2008, my dad was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm, a bulge in a section of the aorta. Luckily, it was a small enough aneurysm that it could be treated without surgery. However, during a recent checkup doctors discovered that the aneurysm has grown and will now require emergency open heart surgery to replace his valve. Needless to say it is a hard and scary time for my family, as it’s a risky surgery with a lot of unknown factors. While my dad has always been the rock in our family, it is now up to my brothers and me to fill that role and be strong for him and my mom.


For me, Father’s Day isn’t really about giving dad a gift, even though I did get him a pretty legit LED tactical flashlight and red laser sight combo attachment for his pistol this year, it is about so much more than that.


This day is about recognizing the gift of caring that my father has given to me throughout my entire life. It’s about thanking him for always being there and supporting me no matter what, being the person I go to whenever I need advice, teaching me truly what it means to not only be a man, but a man of faith, constantly sacrificing in order to give my family a better life, for always taking an interest in my life and even though I’m not married, showing me what it means to be a godly husband who loves his wife sacrificially.


It’s about even thanking him for the small things, like showing me how to change a tire for the first time, always being in the stands cheering me on at my football games while growing up, calling me to talk about what is going on in the sports world at the time, letting me know how proud he is of the man I have become, being there when I graduated high school and college, but most importantly, it’s about thanking him for acting as a channel for God’s love to flow through him and into the lives of my brothers and me.


When it came to making probably the biggest decision of my life in joining the Air Force it was my dad that I leaned on for advice and wisdom. Part of the reason I joined was because of him. He served in the Air Force for seven and a half years as an information systems controller and I’ve always been proud of the fact that he served his country and I wanted to follow in his footsteps.


For people who haven’t met my father, I am the man I am today because of him. Every day I strive to be the kind of person my dad is and I hope that when people meet me they are able to see a small part of him through me and the type of man he is.


My father is more than just a “dad” to me, he is a best friend, a mentor, a role model and confidant. I may be bias, but I can’t imagine there being a better father out there. One day, in the future, when I am a husband and do have kids I know that if I’m half the husband and father that my dad is that I did something right in life.


The older I get the more I appreciate what my dad has done for me and I encourage everyone this Father’s Day to take the time to reach out and let them know how much you love them and how much you appreciate all they have done for you in your life.