Dozens of Father's days; Decades of Grief

 

by Walter Brasch

 

Christopher Kenneth Frison is seven months old.

He's too young to understand Father's Day.

And he's certainly far too young to be able to get an allowance or a job to buy a card and a nice gift.

He isn't too young to be able to hug his father.

But he won't ever be able to do that again. Not today. Not next year. Not ever.

His father, 1st Lt. Demetrius M. Frison, a parachutist and infantry officer, was killed in Khost province, Afghanistan, May 10. He was 26 years old.

His widow, Mikki, told the Lancaster New Era that she and Demetrius first met in Middle School in Philadelphia, attended different high schools, and then went to Millersville University in 2003. Both graduated with degrees in psychology. They married in March 2009, a month before he joined the Army. Christopher was born November 17, 2010. At that time, Frison, who had trained at Fort Benning, Ga., was stationed at Fort Knox, Ky.

The last time Frison saw his son was shortly before his first deployment to Afghanistan in January. Four months later, he was dead.

Christopher Kenneth Frison isn't the only one who won't be able to celebrate Father's Day. There are thousands, a few who never had a chance to meet their fathers, many who are now young adults.

1st Lt. Demetrius M. Frison is one of 264 Pennsylvanians, one of 6,082 American troops killed in what are now America's longest wars. In Afghanistan and Iraq, 54,609 Americans have been wounded, thousands who have permanent physical injuries, all of whom are likely to develop levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Department of Defense estimates that 78,000 soldiers have developed PTSD in the past decade; the Veterans Administration believes the number is closer to 800,000. Those numbers don't even include the soldiers who served in dozens of wars and military actions since World War II.

 1st Lt. Frison, who had earned four service ribbons in his two years in the Army, received three more in May. The Army posthumously awarded him the NATO, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart medals.  But not one medal is worth the life of a soldier who never saw his first Father's Day with his son, nor the son who will have dozens of them without his father.

          

          [Contributing were Rosemary R. Brasch, the Fort Knox public affairs office, the Philadelphia Tribune, and the Lancaster Intelligencer-Journal.]

 

 

 

 

Make A Father's Day Declaration

I invite you to join me in making the following declaration:

I declare here and now I believe in respect. I am a person ready to take a stand against relationship violence and abuse. I want all to know this symbolizes my commitment to solve problems through conversation, not confrontation. Together we can teach others to lift their hands in embrace, not in anger. We can show compassion equals strength, and by doing so, help shape a world free of relationship violence.

To declare it, go here.

After you declare it, share it.

The Family Violence Prevention Fund is on a mission to create a future of healthy relationships. And as such, they are asking people to Give RESPECT!, and make a declaration.

So far, mostly women have signed. Women should sign, and I'm asking the men to step up. Relationship violence is a problem that lives in the shadows. To end it, we must bring it into the light and talk about it. You can help by making the declaration, and sending it on.

And to the women reading this, please sign the declaration too and send it to the men you know, and ask them to make a stand.

After all, what is it to be a man?

It's not measured by the size of your wallet, but by the size of your heart.
It's not determined by the strength of your muscles, but by the strength of your courage.
It's not judged by how tall you stand, but by what you stand up for.

And this Father's Day, it's time to man up.

 

 

Father's Day - So Good Luck with that Parenting Thing!

I first became a father almost fifteen years ago, around 4:30 a.m., shortly after ducking out of the hospital during about 36 hours of labor (hers, not mine) to get a couple of slices of Ray's pizza (the really really real and original original Ray's) because I hadn't eaten during the entire preceding 36 hours and it seemed that no-one was going to be progressing for another several, only to return, the world's most delicious pizza in hand, to a scene of controlled mayhem as they prepared my future ex-wife for a cesarean because the little guy seemed to be in distress.  (I've got a classic rant about the relative merits of nurses and midwives [good] versus male obstetricians [bad] revealed during this experience, but that's for another day)...

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