Richard Lui is an award-winning veteran network anchor (MSNBC, CNN). He’s produced investigative stories on human trafficking, civil rights, the military, and politics.
Lui is an AARP Caregiving Champion, Alzheimer’s Association Celebrity Champion, Hidden Heroes ambassador, and BrightFocus ambassador. He is a caregiver for his father. SKY BLOSSOM is his first film.
Seven years ago, I learned my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I knew I may have to leave the career I worked for and loved so much, journalism. But my company did the unexpected. I could work part-time so I could fly from New York to California weekly to care for my Dad.
I am one in three Americans who is touched by caring for an ailing loved one. And I’m part of the half a trillion annual dollars in work me and 53 million others do for loved ones. A major part of this community is military caregivers. Military caregiver journeys start earlier and last longer than most. They also lose on average, almost $200,000 in wages over their lifetimes.
My parents came from military families. They didn’t talk about it or how they cared for siblings who served. I only learned of their service when they died. But I did remember my grandfather’s pride in one picture. Each visit from nine until he died, he pointed to a flyer that was probably given to longshoremen as they left the shipyard where Liberty Ships were built. He held close those symbols of American manufacturing and gracious might. When Grandpa died, I asked for one thing–that flyer. It was on the top shelf. The corner note he typed and Scotch-taped reminds me of the history he gave me, and all of us. June 20, 1945. A hopeful, caring time.
This is for that generation and those before and after. This is for those who cared for our veterans. The spouses, partners, children, family and friends–the ones who parachute in to care. As they used to say, ‘See the parachutes opening. They’re coming to safeguard those on the ground.’ This is for the Sky Blossoms. Our Next Greatest Generation.