“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." In July 1969, Neil Armstrong’s famous quote was heard around the world as he climbed down the ladder of Apollo 11 and became the first human to step onto the moon. However, this is not an American history lesson, but a piece of my own personal history. My father, George Miliziano, was an Aeronautical Engineer and designed that very ladder the astronaut was making that small step from. I remember watching the big moment on our black-and-white television and glancing at my dad as he observed his hard work. I can still remember his face as he watched, proud that the ladder was structurally sound and able to withstand that historic moment.

Laureen, age 2, and her father, George.

He spent his 40-year career designing wings for fighter aircrafts like the F-15 and F-22, several planes for the 700-series of Boeing jumbo-jets, and many elite Gulfstream private jets. Something to be proud of, most definitely, but to my dad, as brilliant and talented as he was, all of that was just a job and not what he wanted to be known for.

Age 13, 8th Grade Graduation.

He grew up during the Great Depression in New York City, and was raised by Italian immigrant parents who worked hard to live the American dream. He shared many stories of growing up during these times. Even though it was tough, those were truly the best years of his life because his family grew close and learned to depend on each other. He understood what strength and perseverance looked like, what it meant to trust in God, and how to apply the values that formed him into the person he became. He passed that onto me, and I am so proud of his story.

Age 18 and excited to have joined the U.S. Air Force.

His love of God, family, and good Italian food (in that order) was all he really cared about, and he wanted to pass that on to the next generation. His strong faith in God was the only real legacy he wanted to leave to me and to my children. All that he accomplished by the world’s standards, impressive as it was, paled in comparison to his faith.

George Miliziano in his later years.

My dad passed away 8 years ago this month and how I wish he was here to meet his 7 great-grandchildren. This Father’s Day, his 7th great-grandchild, Abraham Noble Miliziano Skrivan, was baptized. During the baptismal liturgy, our pastor read Psalm 103, But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; to such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. As I sat in the church pew witnessing that moment, I could almost hear my dad say, “Now, this is the legacy I want to be known for."