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Big Day in the Life of this American

Big Day in the Life of this American

By: Michael S. Hatfield
June 4, 2015

This time, I am not going to speak about our nation’s historic event, but say that my brother’s birthday was on the Fourth of July. He served in the Air Forces for his country, was a great friend and superb brother. He was an excellent father to his children as well. He was pivotal in my life as he was the only one who very reluctantly talked me out of serving when he discovered how hard airline pilot jobs were to secure.

“You have to be ready when they call you, Bro. There is a heavy demand for that job and if you go in the service, you would obligate to at least 8 years and you may miss the call.” And, he was right, too.

After 7 years of intensive flight training and diligent preparation, I was just 24 years old when Western Airlines called one bright sunny afternoon. I remember that life-changing phone call as if it were just yesterday. This very kind-sounding woman in Personnel asked “if I wanted to fulfill my career ambition and come fly “the only way to fly.””

My brother was an aviation mechanic on the F86 Sabre stationed in Japan for most of his military career. A pilot asked him once, “Airman, is this airplane ready to fly?” Bro answered, “yes, sir!” The Officer inquired further, “Would you bet your life on it?” The answer was, “No, but I’ll bet yours!” Brother lost a stripe over those words.

Pop was a pilot, too, flying C47 Transports in the Army Air Corp and serving in World War II. He had stories to tell, and many of them revolved around comradery enjoyed with fellow soldiers. One of pop’s more interesting tales told of when he and a buddy did more-than-one midnight ride through the barracks on a Harley Davidson. You would think they would have known better, but what the heck, they were young.

I recall one sky blue clear day my brother took off work to fly with me to Mexico and pick up a load of semiconductors (they really were!). It is common practice for a pilot to hold a navigational chart “course up” which means the map will be held upside down frequently. Brother kept laughing at me and kept saying, “How you gonna fly the big jets if you don’t know how to hold the map!” I loved his constant teasing as it was his way of showing he cared.

Like so many of our beloved service brothers, fathers and sisters, my brother and my father are gone now. They are all so very warmly remembered and never forgotten–whether it be because they are loved ones or simply valued Americans. Perhaps it is both.

The life and times spent as soldiers is very significant to our servicemen and women. It is as if they were all brought together to support one ultimate commonly-held ideal–freedom. They were, and they are.

I think warmly of my brother on the Fourth of July. It is also a time for me to remember the commitment and sacrifices made by our servicemen and women. For these reasons, Independence Day is a very significant Day in the Life of this grateful American.

Michael S. Hatfield thoroughly enjoys working in Residential and Commercial Real Estate as a Broker Associate with RE/MAX Accord in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. He has a passion for working with quality people and delights in applying his experience as a Home Builder, Developer, Airline Captain, former CEO and President to his clients real estate goals.

He may be reached at (925) 322-7775 or at His offices are in Danville, California.