A Veteran's Day Tribute to my Dad.

My dad smiling for the camera where he was honored for winning his division for arts and crafts.

I'm sure many of you who have been following my posts on Facebook know that my dad recently passed away in August. I feel that every Veteran's Day, I should honor him in what he has done to sacrifice for our country. 

My dad was a retired U.S. Army veteran who loved his country. I never realized how much he loved the years that he served until I got older. I remember dad encouraging me to sign up for Jr. ROTC back in high school because it would teach me discipline, leadership, etc. Instead I just did it to get myself out of physical education. But looking back, it gave me a taste of what it would be like if I signed up to really serve my country. 

Dad had many talents that he shared while serving our country. He was a gifted athlete that played volleyball as a setter for the Army as well as coached boxing to some of the most talented athletes of that time. He was a cook and really enjoyed cooking for others. He would tell me how much he enjoyed watching people react to his cooking and it would always make them smile. Dad was always concerned about making sure his guests were taken care of by saying "Come EAT!". I remember when he was in the hospital during his last and final days. I would stay the night by sleeping on the sleeper that they had in the room. When I would wake up, they would serve him his breakfast and always wanted me to eat first. He wasn't concerned about himself- he was concerned about me eating and making sure I had food to eat that morning. No matter how ill he was, he always took care of his guests first.

I remember the many times he would have a big catch from fishing in the ocean. He would make a HUGE pot of fish soup and would drive it to Waianae beach. At the time, there were many homeless people living on the beach and he would set up his little kitchen at a friend's tent. People would line up with their cups or bowls because they knew my Dad had food for them. It made my dad smile when he would serve them his delicious fish soup. 

I will always remember the many stories my dad would tell me of when he was in the military. He wouldn't tell me every story because some of them were very heartbreaking and he never wanted me to know what happened in places like Vietnam or Korea. All he could tell me were the good experiences that he had. 

I honor my dad, Junior Terry Afalla, for the service he gave for our country as well as those who were in need of food. I'm proud to call him my dad and will always remember the many lessons he has taught me in life. I love and miss him dearly.