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Dear Dad,

Being a parent isn’t easy, being a parent while serving active-duty is one of the toughest roles anyone could have. You spent more than 20 years in the Marine Corps, serving our country, and I am more than thankful to have someone like you as my father. You’ve always been my source of HOPE, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. Thank you, for everything.

But I can’t deny, it was hard.

It was hard growing up on military bases and moving every three years.

It was hard to handle your never-ending deployments.

It was hard to grow up so far away from you.

It wasn’t easy being your daughter. I was scared you’d get hurt, or worse; never return from your deployment. I was scared that every phone call could be our last. I was scared to lose you. It was awesome having a tough father, but it scared me to death.

I know it wasn’t easy on you either. When you came home things were different, holidays changed, and you slowly stopped doing some of your favorite things. We couldn’t watch certain movies anymore, and the yearly 4th of July fireworks slowly ceased. It wasn’t until my late teenage years that I realized it was PTSD, and you were still afraid and haunted of the things you saw overseas and now can’t unsee.

Regardless of where you were in the world you always knew you were there supporting me. Thank you, for everything.

For as long as I can remember, you were only partially there. Growing up, I usually only had one parent in the house. There were so many things I wanted to talk to you about every day, but you were thousands of miles away. I discovered my interests and talents, and you weren’t there to see it.

I know not being there was hard for you, too. I know that it wasn’t your fault. Sometimes I wish I could selfishly keep you home and not have to share you with the Marine Corps.

You chose to serve our country proudly, and you did your best to be a great dad, too. Every quality you learned as a service member made you a great Marine, and taught you to be a better dad.

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Our relationship is nowhere near the normal father-daughter relationship, but I am still grateful for the relationship we have. The bond we have is unique and I couldn’t be more proud to have you as my dad and of who you are. You spent years serving our country, and I know it’s changed you. I know the past few years have been tough, I know I’ve been busy, but all that you do for me hasn’t gone unnoticed.

The lessons you have taught me as a father and Marine have made a lasting impact and are the sounding board of my life decisions.

You taught me to never be afraid.

You taught me what it really means to be tough.

You taught me patience, and that distance doesn’t matter if you really love someone.

You taught me to be a hard worker, and to never expect anything to be handed to me.

You taught me to be stubborn and always fight for what I believe in.

You taught me to be a better sister to my brother and a better daughter to my mother.

You taught me the real meaning of HOPE.

I’m glad you taught me to be strong.

Now, it’s my turn to make sure YOU stay strong.

I know your life will never be the same and I know things will never be the way they once were. That’s ok. Thank you, for being the best dad I could’ve asked for. Our relationship isn’t always easy, but you are the reason I’ve grown into the person I am today. Thank you, again, for everything, and Happy Father’s Day.


Your Little Girl 


About The Author

cap2Amelia Woods is a senior Strategic Communications major studying at Oklahoma State University who is currently interning at Hope For The Warriors.  Residing in Keller, Texas, Amelia is the daughter of a Marine Corps officer of 30 years, and has moved around the world throughout her childhood. Her dad’s service and her own experiences as a military brat inspires her to give HOPE to the military commmunity.