The Stuff of Legend

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It is Father’s day and I miss my dad. There are legends who walk the surface of this planet and they are mythic is scale and fame follows them like a shadow. Then there are legends who also walk the planet who go unheralded and spend their days in simple ways: working faithfully (sometimes at jobs they hate), playing with their children when there is no energy left in their weary bodies, teaching their young ones about right and wrong, how to be people of integrity, honesty and faithfulness. Most of those are nameless and faceless to the world at large, but to most of us, we have called them by the same name: father.

As I walked through a very large cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, I saw numerous tombstones that had the word “Father” across the top – and my dad came to my mind so clearly and strongly. I could see him with my mind’s eye so vividly, even though he I haven’t seen him in the 18 years since he left to go “home”.  I could hear his voice as if he stood beside me.

His earthly remains, for the last 18 years, rest beneath the rich black soil and sod in a simple country graveyard in Iowa just a few miles from where he grew up.  The cemetery is surrounded by cornfields, fields of soybeans or maybe hay. It is where he chose to be buried…it was the place where he grew up, and I think until the day he died, it was where his heart still belonged. It was his heart that finally took him.

Very few people in the world ever knew my dad.  He was a quiet, some might say reserved, man.  But he was a man of integrity. He was a hard working man of integrity. And to me, he is the stuff of true legend.

ON THIS DAY IN  HISTORY: in 1942, General Erwin Rommel turned his assault on the British-Allied garrison at Tobruk, Libya, into victory, as his panzer division occupies the North African port.

Britain had established control of Tobruk after routing the Italians in 1940. But the Germans attempted to win it back by reinforcing Italian troops with the Afrika Korps of Erwin Rommel, who continually charged the British Eighth Army in battles around Tobruk, finally forcing the Brits to retreat into Egypt. All that was left to take back the port was the garrison now manned by the South African Division, which also included the Eleventh Indian Brigade. With the use of artillery, dive-bombers, and his panzer forces, Rommel pushed past the Allies. Unable to resist any longer, South African General Henrik Klopper ordered his officers to surrender early on the morning of the 21st. Rommel took more than 30,000 prisoners, 2,000 vehicles, 2,000 tons of fuel, and 5,000 tons of rations. Adolf Hitler awarded Rommel the field marshal’s baton as reward for his victory. “I am going on to Suez,” was Rommel’s promise.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The quality that ancient Egyptians valued most was called ma’at, which means good behavior, honesty, and justice. Ma’at is also the name of the goddess of truth who, according to myth, weighs every Egyptian heart after death.

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