Dad and Ms. Wilson

My dad would have turned 100 years old on November 9.

I used to love to have lunch with him at a diner called Reeves in downtown Washington, D.C. He had a favorite table and a favorite waitress named Jean Wilson. Ms. Wilson had served him lunch at another diner in Bethesda, MD for 30 years prior.

Ms. Wilson was at Dad's wake. She gave me a hug and said, "Your dad was a good man." She smiled and walked out of the church.

A few months later, I saw her at a bus stop outside of my old high school. She had just interviewed for a job working in the kitchen. I gave her a ride and later called the school and told the head of food services that he couldn't hire a better human being.

Ms. Wilson got the job and now our son Tommy sees her every day.

This past Sunday, Tommy and I sat in the 10th Street Baptist Church in northwest Washington, D.C, where Ms. Wilson is a minister, and listened to her preach. She told the 50 of us gathered for the 7:45 a.m. service that every day is a blessing, that every day God is good to us, that every day we should say thank you to God.

No wonder Dad loved Ms. Wilson.

I miss my dad and mom every day. I especially miss their example of faith in action, a faith that was rooted in hope and love. In these times of terrorism, when mad men kill and terrify people around the world, I often close my eyes and repeat Dad's words: "Peace will not happen through the absence of war but through the presence of love. The kind of love that will see to it that men have enough food to eat, enough clothes to wear, enough houses to live in."

Some may think Dad was a naïve idealist, but I think they are wrong. I think Dad understood better than most that "a peace that passes understanding can be reached only by compassion."

These are difficult times to be sure, but I prefer to remain focused on hope and love, by doing what I can every day to ensure that every child in this country and around the world has the opportunity for a bright future. I am thankful that there are so many people who are fighting the good fight, like my mom and dad once did and like Ms. Wilson continues to do today. I believe that if enough of us band together, we can bring about peace.

After all, "Peace is like war: If enough people want it, enough people can cause it."