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Family Matters Blog: Fathers Get Well-Deserved Attention

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 15, 2012 – American fathers, and especially military fathers, are getting some overdue attention lately with Father’s Day coming up this weekend.

President Barack Obama took time out of his regularly packed daily schedule to sit down to lunch with two dads -- Army 1st Lt. Bill Edwards and Army Capt. Joubert Paulino, as well as two local barbers here -- as part of the “Fatherhood Buzz” campaign sponsored by the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse and the Department of Health and Human Services. The campaign aims to connect fathers with local fathering resources through barber shops across the nation.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta also has celebrated fathers. In his Father’s Day message to troops, Panetta thanked fathers serving in uniform for their loyalty and dedication to the country, and for balancing the demands of military and home life.

“I've seen how you focus on the mission while enduring extended periods away from loved ones,” he said. “Through it all, you've shown courage on the battlefield and tenderness to your families at home.”

Indeed, Panetta noted that not only are fathers “bettering our military and securing our nation,” but also are helping to raise and nurture families.

Edwards and Paulino are just two examples of standout dads, balancing service to their country with service at home. Another amazing military dad is Jeremy Hilton – voted 2011 Military Spouse of the Year by Military Spouse magazine. Hilton, a former Navy officer, gave up his career as a submariner to support his Air Force officer wife and their two children, one with special needs. He is the first father to receive the spouse award. Read more here.

Father’s Day was not recognized as a national observance until 1974 – 58 years after Mother’s Day began. But today’s dads are showing they truly are worthy of the recognition.

As Panetta said, “To fathers and husbands of those who serve: we simply could not do our jobs without your love and support. It is never easy to deal with the challenges and concerns of a deployment, just as it is always hard to take care of everything back at home.”

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