David Axelrod, a senior CNN political commentator and host of "The Axe Files," was a senior adviser to President Barack Obama and chief strategist for the 2008 and 2012 Obama presidential campaigns. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his. View more opinion on CNN.
(CNN)This is always a tough time of the year for me.
It has been nearly half a century, but I am still haunted by the memory of an ominous knock on my college apartment door just before Memorial Day, 1974. A police officer, standing in a darkened foyer, asking my name and, as tenderly as he could, sharing devastating news.
My father was dead.
My dad, Joseph Axelrod, was my hero. Gentle and warm, he provided me much-needed ballast during a turbulent childhood. He was always there to help me through my struggles, but almost never hinted at his own.
Oh, how I wished he had when that …