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lthough not a sea story in the truest sense of the word, I would like to pay tribute to one of America's greatest heros ... my dad. Born in western Pennsylvania and the son of a miner, my father gave me a taste of life that he himself never had ... a good and decent life for his family.

Dad served in the SeaBees (U.S. Navy Construction Battalion) during WWII, and made some of the toughest landings with Marines, including Saipan, Tinian, Tarawa, and finally Iwo Jima. So much did he admire the strength and courage of the U.S. Marines, that he inspired me to later become one of America's finest. I grew up hearing the horrors of the beach landings first-hand, and of how my father visited, every day, the massive cemeteries of those valiant Marines and Sailors who made the Supreme sacrifice on those deadly beaches. My father has, to this day, the greatest respect for those brave men who gave their lives for our country on those islands.

I believe, however, that Dad's most painful experience came when he and my mother received notification of my brother Gary's death in Vietnam in September 1969. As the father of three Marines, I cannot possibly fathom the pain that my father feels to this very day at the loss of one of his dear sons. No greater sacrifice can possibly be made by a father, than this.

On this Father's Day, I salute my dad for the great man he is. Yes, I am fortunate enough to still have him, and I love and enjoy his company very much. He is my inspiration and my mentor. He is my best friend.

Thanks, Dad, for all you have done for me and for your family. Your legend will live on forever in the hearts and minds of your three Marine grandsons, ... my sons.

Let me close by telling you of the great honor and pride I have been blessed with in fathering three wonderful sons. Today, they carry on the honor and decency of their grandfather, and I beam with pride in their character, fidelity, integrity, and their service to our country.

To my dad, and to my three sons, thank you for bestowing upon me a wonderful life!

Semper Fi!

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