I wasn’t there to see your world debut
I didn’t watch you take your very first breath
I won’t be around to tickle your tiny feet
Or give you kisses on your little head
I won’t be there to hear you say your first words
Or teach you how to throw a ball
You will never take your first steps towards me
I won’t be there to catch you if you fall
I won’t pack your lunch on your first day of school
Or sing silly songs while on the way there
I can’t tell you bedtime stories
Or wipe your tears when you are scared
I won’t get to threaten your high school dates
Or chaperon your dance
I won’t get to tell you how much you look like your Mom
Or how beautiful you look in that dress
I’ll be absent from all family photos
I’ll not be present on your wedding day
I’ll miss out on that smile that looks like mine
I won’t be there to give you away
You see, while you were taking your very first breath
I was on course to take my last
As your little eyes were opening to your new world
My mind was flashing to memories of the past
As you were saying your first words
I was fighting for freedom of speech
As you were taking your first strong steps
Mine were weakening on Pearl Harbor’s beach
While your mom was packing your first school lunch
I was fighting for your education
As you were saying the pledge of allegiance in class
I was protecting our flag from annihilation
While confetti fell at your high school prom
Fallen soldiers gasp for one last breath
As you clasp your mother’s pearls around your neck
I was holding your picture to my chest
While you dressed in white to say “I do”
I was suiting up in camouflage
As you gave your heart to your true love
A bullet pierced mine and became lodged
Though we never had the chance to meet
I hope to be in the dreams upon your pillow
I gave my last breath to ensure your first
In an attempt to be your hero
I want you to know that I’m proud of you
And I hope one day you’ll be proud of me
Cherish every moment you are given in life
Live FREELY. Think of me.
With Love, Your Daddy
They fell so we could stand. Their voices were silenced so ours could be heard. They stayed awake fighting the monsters so we could safely tuck in our children at night. Say a prayer for our soldiers, and never take for granted the precious moments they are missing with their families to allow you to spend time with yours.
This story originally appeared on Stars & Stripes
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