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Father's Day This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Today mocked me like a bully in the schoolyard. It knew that it would only cause me pain, but it came anyway. I tried stepping around it, but it was everywhere. It was on every commercial and in every corner store’s windows. I had to admit it to myself. It was Father’s Day.
This was the third Father’s Day I’d spent without Dad. The first two had been easy, I would see him while he was on leave. But this time was different. This time he would not come back because he died fighting in a war I don’t understand. I didn’t get a last good bye or one more hug. All I got was a letter and a flag.
Momma and I cried or more like she cried while I was too sad to. We didn’t say much. We didn’t answer the phone. We just sat there and got beaten up by today.
It’s been six months. Six months since he was killed. Six months since we received the letter. Six months since an empty body was buried. And in six months I haven’t felt any different from the first day.
I miss him. I miss him making me laugh. I miss his late night reality shows that I can’t bear to watch anymore. I miss him bringing in donuts on Saturday morning. I even miss him singing in the car. And I need him. I need him to come back and make everything all right. But he can’t do that anymore.
I know he’ll be looking down on me. I know he’ll always be in my heart. But sometimes that’s not enough. And today especially, it just wasn’t enough. Today threw other people in my face. It showed me happy, complete families playing in the park or grilling in the backyard. It made me remember what I had lost. It made me think of the one thing most everyone else had that I didn’t.
My dad died for me. He died for me and my country. He took the bullet for his friend. He died a brave man, which was what he was all along. So happy Father’s Day, Dad, you deserve it.



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