As Father's Day passes, I find myself reflecting on the many men who have left a mark on my life. They are coaches, neighbors, and fellow veterans and teachers. They are mentors and role models. …
As Father's Day passes, I find myself reflecting on the many men who have left a mark on my life. They are coaches, neighbors, and fellow veterans and teachers. They are mentors and role models. These individuals embody success and consistently motivate me to strive for it. But there are two remarkable men who have made the biggest impact of all: my grandfather, a Navy veteran, and my father, a hardworking restaurant owner who tirelessly provided for our family in so many ways. Their unwavering commitment to service and hard work shaped me into the person I am today, and it is these principles that I strive to instill in my own two children.
My grandfather was the son of a barber and boutique owner who immigrated from Italy to America in search of opportunity. The day after Pearl Harbor, he and his two brothers enlisted in military service. My grandfather’s sacrifices and the camaraderie he experienced cooking in the
Navy during World War II instilled in him an unwavering dedication to service and community that extended far beyond his time in uniform.
That’s why after the war, he and my grandmother saved their money and opened a small business--a family restaurant in a racially divided neighborhood. My grandfather was in the business of not only serving up a great dining experience, he was in the business of bringing people and communities together. "Where the Elite Meet to Eat '' was his slogan because in his eyes each person deserves a seat at the table and an opportunity to share their story.
As a young boy, I spent countless hours washing dishes and waiting tables in my family’s restaurant. It was within those walls that I learned the importance of bringing people together and pouring your heart and soul into your work. I saw firsthand the tireless efforts of my father as he cooked full-time at the restaurant and turned wrenches on nights and weekends to provide for our family. My dad learned the virtue of hard work and responsibility at 14 years old when his father suddenly died. He grew up quick, cutting lawns and pumping gas to support his mother, a full-time nurse, and his two younger brothers. Despite his grueling schedule behind the grill and under the hood, my dad always made time to be present and unconditionally love our mother.
The legacy of my father and grandfather steered me towards a lifelong commitment to public service, teaching me the joy of contributing to my community and country. Now, as a father myself, I constantly think about the world I am leaving for my children. Are they inheriting communities where the cost of living overshadows the joy of living? Are they stepping into a country torn apart by partisan politics? Are they facing a world sinking under the impacts of climate change?
This Father's Day, let's commit to leaving our children and grandchildren a united, affordable, and cleaner America. Let's pledge to listen, work hard, and be honest with one another. If we do, there’s no barriers we can’t overcome or common ground we can’t achieve as a family, a community, and a nation. These lessons, learned from my grandfather and father, are the greatest gifts we can pass on to our children. This is not just a Father's Day message; it is a call to action for our country's future