My dad William Ford, was from Metcalf Mississippi. He served in the army during the Vietnam War. My mother was pregnant with me when he was drafted. Every year on my birthday, my dad would tell me the same story over and over again. It was the one about receiving the message from the Red Cross that he had a baby girl. Although this was the only story my dad would share with me about Vietnam, I still learned a lot about the war’s affect on him.
Despite any personal feelings about the war or any scars that may have been left behind, he never spoke ill of the U.S. My dad was jealously patriotic and loved his country. I think this could be seen in the way he gave back to the community. He committed himself to helping others, especially those who found their way to Joliet State prison. My dad was the basketball coach there. Coach Ford would encourage the men to think differently about themselves and what they could be in this world.
At his funeral, one of those young men named Ryan, spoke about the man who cared enough to get involved. I had never been prouder of my dad. Looking at the flag draped coffin my heart ached. I thought about him not being around to have that same impact in my daughter’s life. But his legacy lives on in the lives he touched.