Today I remember my father Noel Elliot Leader, a WWII wounded in action. I never understood the sacrifice he made until I had to say goodbye. So at Kansas Avenue church today, as we honored many men and women like daddy who served, tears flowed with not just pride but with the sadness of knowing for this service, I never said to him, thank you!
You see, to me, daddy was the best dressed man in every room. He was the one who when we walked into any store in Brooklyn, was given extraordinary respect from men of every age. Daddy was the one who I could call any time and express every feeling, good or bad; the one who would somehow know when I was feeling low, and call, just to sing a song of encouragement; assuring me that nothing was too hard for God. Daddy was the one who, when I told people my mother prayed for me, he’d always say, “Noelette, I pray for you every day”, and he did. Today I remember Noel Elliot Leader, but today I say, daddy, “Thank You for your service”. Thank you for fighting in a war where even those with whom you fought with, disrespected you and deemed you “less” than. Thank you for fighting for me and my siblings and our families so we could be safe and happy, only to live in a country where we’re too often, neither. Thank you daddy, and Tuskegee Air Men, and every veteran who in some way contributed to the wellbeing of all Americans, in spite of how you were treated, and too often, still are. As today we were given the charge, by my friend, Rear Admiral, Barry Black, I will live like a soldier, in Gods Army. I will live for the sake of others, dedicate and train my body and treat it like the temple for which it was made, use my mind becoming a better me, and be the best me I can be for whatever time I have left. Today I say thank you daddy, see you in the morning! And to my many friends who serve in the military in any way, THANK YOU! We’ve come this far by faith!