Father’s Day 2011: A Face of America Commentary

By Tony Mussari
Copyright 2011
Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD
The Face of America Project

I saw the Face of America today.  It belonged to a breaker boy from Carbondale, PA.

I saw the Face of America. It was owned by a man who worked on the Delaware & Hudson Rail Road.

I saw the Face of America. It belonged to a man who collected tickets at high school dances and sporting events.

I saw the Face of America. It was smiling, welcoming, optimistic, hopeful and always available.

This Face of America was blue color solid and red white and blue patriotic.

This Face of America painted the walls of the youth center where his children played.

It was not a face of celebrity with fame, fortune or power. These things were not sought or wanted by this Face of America. His concerns were of a more substantial kind. They focused like a laser on the needs of his three children and his wife who were the center of his universe.

He did everything in his power to provide a good home, a good education, a good example, and opportunities for his children he never had himself. He always worked two jobs and many nights of overtime. The extra money he earned helped pay for two college degrees and an RN’s certificate.

This was a man of pleasant surprises like Dixie Cup ice cream from the neighborhood store and weekend trips to a cottage owned by my grandmother along the Susquehanna River in Falls, PA.

He never missed a Sunday church service, and he was a regular at our neighborhood polling station on Election Day.

He never wanted for himself, and he never complained about his fate. The etchings on his face were born of heavy manual labor not excess. He knew what really mattered in life, and he led by example, not words.

He was a wonderful father because he set limits on just about everything but love.

On this father’s day, I will be thinking about the Face of America I was so fortunate to call my father. He taught me the meaning of hard work, love of family, respect for elders, and service to community and country. He taught me that gratitude is the secret to happiness. He taught me to be a helper.

He is so much like the fathers I know who are giving, caring, expecting and nurturing.

Fathers like mine have no national monument.  No buildings or streets are named in their honor, but they are the bedrock of America. Everything we sons have we owe to their sacrifices for us.   

Happy Father’s Day, dad. Thank you for being my hero. You are always in my heart.