Commentary: Remembering a father

In a metal case containing my father’s most important documents are details of his service in the U.S. Navy.

He was proud of his military service. And every Veterans Day, he stuck his chest out a little farther with pride.

Recently, I went through his mail. That’s where I saw his 2008 absentee voting ballot, which hadn’t been filled out. My dad was allowed to see the promised land, but did not get there with us. He survived the Great Depression, the Jim Crow laws, World War II and the Civil Rights era.

But he didn’t get to experience the excitement of Nov. 4. At 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 28, with his family by his side, George A. Penn II took his last breath.

For most of my father’s life, the idea of an African-American aspiring, much less seriously vying, to become president was simply unfathomable.

But when Sen. Barack Obama emerged as the Democratic frontrunner, my father became a big supporter. I wanted him to witness another milestone last week. On the other hand, it’s hard not to be envious of just how many milestones he saw over his 86 years on Earth.

To read the complete column, visit The Kansas City Star.