This is a picture of a true hero. I mean a hero in every sense of the word. This is my dad, who was not unlike many young, serviced aged men, of WWII! There are no doubt millions of men, around my age, that have wonderful memories of “their hero” fathers.
I’m glad our country has a day set aside to honor the brave men and women who have sacrificed for the principles of this nation. There is a saying that goes like this “All gave some, but some gave all!” We must not forget them, or we will be prone to be overrun by despots, and men with evil purposes. This weekend there will be cookouts, picnickers, camping, and tons of other family related activities. Factories close down, businesses take a day off, governmental workers enjoy a long weekend, but for what purpose?
The purpose is to remember men like my father S/Sgt Norman Floyd Ansel, who served in the Asian Theater during WWII. His first son “Norman” Randell was born while he was ducking bombs in the Philippines, and his second son (me) was born nine months after he arrived home. He never talked much about the war, and we were to preoccupied with our own “selfish lives” to pry very much from him. We should of known enough to write a book about his experiences, but we settled instead, for the “basic stories” about his time, in service, to this country. I do know that he lied about his age, and got into the National Guard at 16 years old. He was a farm boy with only an 8th. grade education, but wanted to serve his country. And he did, with dignity and honor!
Richard (Dick) Dusseau was a young marine, just barely out of high school, when killed in Viet Nam. Dick lived just down the street from me, and was a fellow 1964 graduate of Monroe High School. Dick was big into FFA (Future Farmers of America) and played an instrument in the band. He never played high school sports, and wasn’t one of the more popular guys in school. We did have neighborhood football, hockey, and baseball games, and we’d have a blast sledding down “Dusseau’s big hill! Rodney Kurtz was one of Dicks best friends, and he was as shocked as the rest of us, when we heard that Dick had joined the Marine’s. Most of us took our chances with the draft, but the “sweet little boy” from the big farm on the hill joined the roughest, toughest, bunch of fighting men this country ever called to duty!
forty one years ago Richard Dusseau died in a foreign land, and became something he had never been in life (except to his parents) a “hero!” Isn’t life funny? The jocks from high school, and the braino’s, were trying like crazy to get their coveted deferment, and the little guy, they wouldn’t give the time of day, is trudging the jungles of Viet Nam, protecting their right, not to serve! Every time I go by the old Dusseau homestead I think of gentle, soft spoken, and shy, Marine PFC Richard F. Dusseau.
Jim Keeler was another young Marine I can’t forget. He was my brother Randy’s best buddy, that he met in “boot camp!” They were inseparable, and even made plans to join the Michigan State police when they were done with their four year enlistment. Jim was from Paw Paw Michigan (home town of former Detroit Tiger Charley Maxwell) and would visit our home when on leave. During “Operation Double Eagle” Jim took a direct hit, and was transfered to a hospital ship, off the coast of Viet Nam. He kept asking for my brother Randy, and eventually they flew him out by helicopter. Randy visited with his “best buddy” and tried his darnedest to cheer him up, but Jim did not make it! Randy went on to serve two (2) tours of duty in Viet Nam, and has never forgotten his sidekick Corporal James E. Keeler, and the supreme sacrifice he made for this country.
Those are just three snippets of the 10’s of thousands that are out there, but they are the main reason we must not forget. We must, as a nation, and people, remember and honor those who have served this country, and in doing so we honor and respect ourselves. They certainly are deserving of our prayers, love, and support, as we pause this Memorial Day to pay homage to these genuine American hero’s!
The top two pictures are of the “Wall” at our nations Capital. James E. Keeler’s name is second from the top, and Richard F. Dusseau’s is right in the middle. Thank you veterans-I for one know and appreciate your sacrifice.
Specialist 5th. class Michael W. Ansel