OBIORAHFIELDS.COM | 404-994-6218 | NOVEMBER 2019
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE WHAT MY FATHER’S SERVICE IN THE MILITARY MEANS TO ME
T he men and women in our military make an immense sacrifice when they choose to serve. I know that firsthand from growing up with a father in the armed forces. Rufus J. Fields Jr. served in two different branches of the military and fought in two wars over the course of nearly 40 years. His patriotism and willingness to serve inspire me to this day. My father served in the Army in Vietnam right after he graduated from high school. He was just a baby over there, barely 18 years old and fighting for his country. After he got back, he and my mother moved from South Carolina, where he was born and raised, to Atlanta, and he joined the Air Force reserves, where he served for most of my childhood. When you’re in the reserves, you have to serve at your assigned base one weekend out of every month and for a period of two weeks every year. Some people live in a city near the base they serve, but my father’s base was back in South Carolina. So, every month there was one weekend where he was gone, and every year, there was a period of two weeks when he was away. When the Gulf War began, our family wasn’t sure if they were going to call on him to serve overseas. It felt like the
war went on forever, and then when they finally called on my father to serve, it felt like he was gone forever. While he was gone, I wrote to him all the time. I sent him songs I had made up (back then I wanted to be a rapper when I grew up), and I would tape myself singing popular songs and send him the tapes. It’s kind of weird to think I was pen pals with my own father for a while. Luckily, he made it back home safe and sound after his time overseas.
“EVEN THOUGH THERE WERE DAYS, WEEKS, AND EVEN MONTHS WHERE THE MILITARY SEPARATED HIM FROM US, HIS SACRIFICE FOR HIS COUNTRY WAS JUST AS MUCH A SACRIFICE FOR HIS FAMILY.”
loves his country, and his service to it demonstrates this above anything else.
One thing my father always told me was that he served so I didn’t have to. Even though there were days, weeks, and even months where the military separated him from us, his sacrifice for his country was just as much a sacrifice for his family. Even though I never served, if I ever have kids, I’ll probably encourage them to look into joining the military. If it means they’ll become even just a little like my father, it will be worth it.
So much of the impact my father has had on me is related to the fact that he served in the armed forces. In the 40 years he served, he never had one bad thing to say about the military. He would still be serving if the Air Force didn’t make him retire. I have this memory of my father as I was growing up, where on every major holiday, he would raise the American flag in our front yard without fail. He
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