G. Forbes Receives
Lifetime Achievement Award
Lissa Ann Forbes
sits beside her father, Lawrence Forbes, as they listen to stories about
ordinary, yet very extraordinary people. She’s beaming because she has
something to share.
it is her turn. The announcer began, “Lissa Ann Forbes will present
The Lifetime Achievement Award to Lawrence Gordon Forbes for outstanding
service to the USA and being the best Dad she has known.”
Lissa walks slowly to the podium gaining her
composure, as she has never addressed a crowd this large before—over 400 attendees. Her father sits in
the audience waiting to hear his daughter speak, just realizing he would
be the focus of her attention.
Today I present the Lifetime Achievement Award, a gift of
recognition, to my Dad, Colonel Lawrence Gordon Forbes. I recently realized that there are many fathers
out there, but mine has truly earned the title “Dad.”
What did it take?
From the time I can remember, I was proud to call this gentle man
“Dad.” He did not actually “father” me, but from the age
of two when I was adopted he never wavered from calling me his own, his
He held me on his knee and helped me put socks and shoes on. He
splashed water on me as I learned to play in the plastic inflatable
pool. He stood near as I gained balance and confidence to pogo stick and
walk on stilts. He engaged in a fair duel of tennis. He helped me with
homework. He attended plays and choral and dance recitals.
I learned from my Mom to be proud of him for the role he played
in our world history. My Dad graduated from West Point with honors and
served 27 years in the US Army. He was active duty in WWII and had
achieved the rank of full Colonel by the time he retired in 1966.
Because of his military service, I learned to have pride in our
country, respect the American flag and feel the words of the Star
Spangled Banner and God Bless America. To this day these songs bring
tears to my eyes. They remind me that my father is a symbol of duty,
honor, courage, and survival.
Larry Forbes, at 87, is one of the lucky ones. He survived a war, was married to a woman he loved for 56 years, found fulfilling
work, raised two children he can be proud of, and after eight years
alone found another companion to love and was married just this past
my mother died in 1996, Dad started talking, like never before. I
always remember his quiet presence. But suddenly I felt I was his
confidante. He told me what he was doing, where he was traveling and
discussed finances and health issues, subjects never before discussed
openly with the children. I felt important—valued.
Recently, I realized I’ve been honoring my Dad in an unusual
way. First, let me give you a small detail that will help you understand
the story. USAA is worldwide
insurance and financial services association, providing insurance
and financial services to the US military community and
their families. At Borders, where I work part-time, I easily notice USAA
credit cards. When I see one I ask, “Are you a dependent or did you
serve?” I take a moment to thank them or their family member for their
service to our country. I didn’t even realize what I was
doing for some time, but now I recognize that I’m honoring and
acknowledging the contribution made one individual at a time. I’ve
also been honoring my Dad every time I do this.
I want to close with my favorite story about my Dad and me. One we still
laugh about from long ago—the day I moved into the dorm at the
University of Arizona 30 years ago. We had finished lugging what seemed
like a hundred boxes up the front steps to the dorm, stacking them in
the elevator, and carrying them down the hall on the fifth floor to the
fourth room on the left. As I stood on the sidewalk, having said my
thanks to Mom, I turned to Dad and gave him a hug. At that moment, two
young college boys drove by in the red convertible Mustang and shouted,
“Dirty old man!” My father turned to me with the trademark twinkle
in his eye saying, “Don’t young girls have fathers anymore?”
you all for allowing me to recognize the hero in my Dad.
Applause exploded. Lissa noticed a lone tear run down her
father’s face. She was proud of him all over again. She called him up
to the podium to present this special man she calls “Dad” to all who
had come to recognize their heroes. The room shook with the thunderous
clapping . Sweet music to her ears.