S: WE SALUTE YOU - FATHER'S DAY TRIBUTE - 2009
FC: WE SALUTE YOU !
1: We thought of many ways to honor you this Father's Day. Everything we could buy just did not seem quite good enough for someone who has given so much to his family and his country. When we think back to your military career, in which you gave it your all, we can only imagine the thousands of times that you have saluted someone you respect. According to Webster's dictionary, a salute is “a gesture or other action used to display respect and recognition," and you are well overdue for a salute as a Command Sergeant Major and as a family man. In the following pages, you will find your family saluting you. We respect you tremendously; not only as a wonderful father and grandfather, but also a true soldier who has gotten this country through many battles. You deserve so much, but we thought the greatest gift we could give you this Father's Day is a book that depicts our love and respect for you....and.... We Salute You!
2: A SALUTE TO MY FATHER BY BOB FISCHER FATHERS DAY 2009 A “Salute” is meaningful in so many ways. Traditionally it has meant tribute to the military service performed and sacrifice endured to one’s country. Those certainly apply in your case. As I look back on almost sixty years and my own service experiences, some feelings stand out more than others. I have been graced to say Happy Fathers Day fifty seven times. You were only able to say it fourteen times to your own father. You married young, to a wonderful woman, our mother, and became a father twice before age twenty two. You raised four wonderful, kind and respectful children without the benefit of advice and wisdom from your own father. You and Mom were always far from parents and siblings while we were growing up. There was no e-mail, phone calls were prohibitively expensive and letters were slow. Yet you used your innate common sense, ideals and standards learned from military life and managed to instill in your children love and respect for each other and the loved ones in our lives. You are a kind and decent man. As I listen to others talk about the abuse and cruelty in their childhoods, I simply do not understand. There was always love and respect in our house. Yes, there was discipline too, almost always delivered appropriately. You have always had a calm quiet sort of dignity and integrity. A personality respected by the strong and feared by the weak. I can only pray that I have matched those qualities in my own life.
3: “When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our stones will be held sacred because your hands have touched them, and men will say, as they look upon the labor and substance you wrought to them, “See! This our father did for us.” Dad, we are your stones, and the labor and substance you have wrought within us will be passed onto our descendants, as it has already started. Sir, I salute you! Robert Francis Fischer
4: “Just a simple farm boy from Wisconsin” is what you would have me believe. But, I know better. I know you are more than that simple boy from Appleton, Wisconsin. You may have started out that way, but I suspect that Grandma Fischer instilled in you the virtues that George Washington talked about in one of his speeches when he said, “Few men have virtues to withstand the highest bidder.” I believe Washington was talking about men just like you. Dad, I honor you this Father’s Day because I love you and respect you. You have taught me so much and even though I may not tell you, I appreciate the fact that you have led by example. Your examples of bravery, sacrifice, honor, respect and love have all been evident to me. I’ll break it down for you – take bravery, sacrifice and honor. They go hand-in-hand with your military career. Brave you were going off to war in Korea and Vietnam (twice!). I can only imagine how it felt leaving us behind as you went off to fight for the freedom of your country – and for your family. Sacrifice and honor – this is what you sacrificed to give us the freedom that not only brought honor to this country many times – but honor to those of us that bear the Fischer name. There is not one soldier I see that I don’t think of their sacrifice – because you have made me aware of it. You have made me realize how important it is for this country to support them. There is not one “Star-Spangled Banner” sung that I don’t think of you and your bravery, sacrifice and honor. I remember when you, Jack, Jamie, Josh and my family went to the Fourth of July Celebration downtown and they asked those that had served their country to stand up so we could honor them. You stood up and I looked over at Jack, and we all had tears in our eyes – because we were so dern proud of you. That’s respect. That’s honor.
5: And, you deserve it. I saved the best part for last – love! Unconditional. We all know that. You’ve taught us to appreciate our hard times because they will make us stronger. You have taught me that all I need to do is realize my strength comes from within me and to reach in and grab it when I need it. I learned to do this through our many “kitchen table” talks that I will forever remember. I learned that love doesn’t end when someone dies. You have forever talked of mom with love that I will always remember. Thanks for keeping that love memory alive. Well, dad, this is your day and your book. I salute you with the utmost honor and respect, but mostly, with a heart full of love. Barbara Anne Fischer Reese
6: Dad, just where do I start to explain what you mean to me? My adolsecent years, when I pushed the envelope, only to spend weeks and weeks on restriction. Those crazy years when my rock-n-roll and 'maverick' ways drove you to wonder, will the kid make it to 21...to 25...? Was I ever going to get my head out of my butt? When I screwed up in Atlanta, you were there, firm and calm, and stood beside me. As I started my own family, with each and every day, I wanted to turn into the same man that was my Father. Hit a few bumps, but even today, I thank God I had you for an example of what a husband and father should be. I hope I have turned into the man you expected of me. What can I say about your military career? I'm a junky for finding out how the Korean and Vietnam wars were conducted. And with each new revelation, my respect and admiration for what you endured and accomplished grows more profound. I'm so proud to say my Dad is a Patriot, a Warrior, and to me, a hero. Men like you are the bed-rock of this great country. The love and guidance you have given me and my family, words can not describe my unending appreciation. I guess I would sum it all up by saying...this Fathers Day, it is I who is so lucky to honor you and call you my Dad.
7: I love you Dad with all my heart and soul. Jack Leonard Fischer
8: They say words can’t express your feelings. As cliche’ as that sounds – they’re right. There is no way to express in words the love, admiration and respect I have for you and all that you have accomplished in your lifetime – and ours. You might have started out a farm boy from Wisconsin, but experiences all over the world, both professionally and personally, made you into a man that earned the respect of thousands of people all over the world. I couldn’t be prouder to say “I’m an Army brat!” I didn’t travel like the others in our family, but the places we lived were definitely “home”. That speaks volumes to you and Mom and how we were raised. War was part of our life, sacrifice was part of our life, but so was love for one’s country, respect for the military and honoring your word. There is no doubt about any of that. I’m even prouder of the fact that, as each of us grew and had children of our own, we have instilled these things into them and they all know these virtues. Growing up, when I’d ask questions about what you did, the bottom line was you were “just doing your job”. Well, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gained so much respect for “just doing your job”. “That job” in Korea, “that job” in Vietnam – twice! The fact that you look at all that you did and all that you went through as “just doing of your job” speaks to the man that you are and it’s no wonder you’ve accomplished all that you have in your lifetime. Those jobs were not easy as evidenced by your purple hearts and numerous commendations. And you know what else I’m proud of – the way YOU are proud of them. You don’t try to hide them or the fact that you’ve been to hell and back – but that you did what needed to be done. That is one reason Bob, Barb, Jack and I are close even though we are thousands of miles away from each
9: other! When something happens, we do what needs to be done – we pull our forces together and we do it. While I’d like to say we got all that from you, I think Mom had a part in that as well. I’ve heard you say numerous times that you don’t know why you came back from those wars when so many didn’t. I know why – your mission wasn’t complete. I am proud when I see you waving in the Veterans Day Parade. I am proud of the way you make sure your friends are all treated properly, with dignity and respect, but most of all – that they are never forgotten! Just as you and all you’ve done will never be forgotten. I am proud of the fact that I had parents who enjoyed their family and are always there for us - through good times and bad. So I guess I would sum all this up by saying, I am proud to be the daughter of CSM (Ret.) Francis L. Fischer. I love you Daddy, with all my heart and soul – you are MY hero! Janet Lee Fischer Owings
10: Dear “Pop”: I just wanted to take this opportunity to say Thank You! Thank you for loving your family and your country in such a way that, to me, exemplifies what I perceive to be a father and a soldier’s soldier. Below, is an acrostic for the word “love” that I put together…some qualities that come to mind when I think of you and your love of family, country and your military career. Loyal Orderly Valor E9 Endurance Thank You, with a salute and a wish for a Happy Father’s Day!! Much love and respect James Howell Reese
12: Dear Hap Since I did not grow up in a military family, I never really understood what being in the military is all about. Well, over the past years, Hap, YOU and your family have helped me to understand what it means to….. Be an American & really salute the American Flag. Have to go to war; be fortunate enough to come home from war and mourn for those who did not. Hug your family instead of just offering a handshake. Stand up for what you believe in and for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Have the freedom to go and do what I want in this world. Feel part of the proud military convoy going down the road. Celebrate a victory. Respect those who serve. Walk the halls of the VA looking for an old friend. Thank those for service to this country. Stand at attention during a 21 gun salute. Fight back the tears while the bugler blows taps. Embrace the widow as she is handed the service flag. If only the rest of the world understood all these things, we might not need armies at all. Thank YOU for all you have sacrificed both personally and professionally.
13: Happy Father’s Day. Andrew "Bear" Johnsen Owings
14: Papaw -- I named my dog after you – what more needs to be said? Both Fritz’ are good-looking, attract the ladies, and get into a lot of trouble. But the human Fritz – you – commands a great deal more respect than the furry Fritz. You are a loving and caring grandfather. And although squirrels deem you their enemy, I love you. My favorite times with you are spent listening to your war stories – whether “tall” or “short.” I am in awe of all that you have accomplished – raising a family while raising GIs as a Command Sergeant Major. Leaping out of planes while leaping around your children. Developing your career while developing lasting friendships. You did all this while preparing a loving home for your family, who in turn, would provide a loving home to your grandchildren. All this you did. All this is because of you. You are part of who I am. I love you. Melissa Kylene Reese Cruthirds
15: From a former varmint to an expert special forces varmint hunter: Not only am I proud of your service to our country, I am even prouder to be a member of your family. Thank you for everything you have done, and most of all, thank you for just being the coolest, shagginest, Command Sergeant Major, GrandDad-in-law, Papaw there ever was. Happy Fathers Day! Karl Kevin Cruthirds (former varmint)
16: To My Papaw, There are some times in our lives when we try to put the inexpressible into words. This letter, for me, is one of those moments. I have had the privilege of growing up with a grandfather that dedicated his entire life to fighting for my freedom. Long before I was born, you were ensuring a better life for me and everyone back home. Watching your interview on the Veteran’s Day newscast, seeing you surrounded by so many others who fought alongside you, really brought it home. And despite your unthinkable struggles and sacrifices, I know that you don’t consider yourself the hero. However, we do. I cannot begin to thank you verbally, because words just don’t suffice. But please know that with this letter, I send my absolute gratefulness for, and pride in, what you have done. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. All of my love -- Amy Amaris Fischer
18: Papaw, As a grandchild, I’m supposed to consider you simply as a grandparent, the man responsible for an entire family; however, as your grandchild, I think of you as more of a Domino master, the Oreo cookie king, the tech-savvy cool guy, a loyal Gamecock fan, and the ultimate decision-maker of my height! (Well, maybe we’ll leave that up to the garage door height chart!) “Papaw” is just an easier way to say ‘so much more than just a Grandfather’! Grandparents are already responsible for enough: creating family memories, teaching family pride and values, and for simply being a lap to forever sit on with a familiar neck to hug…but you are so much more than just a typical grandparent! You created many memories with the grandkids at the kitchen table (once we were finally allowed to sit at the ‘adult’ table)! All it took for you to bring the cousins together when we were younger was a game of Dominos, a cup of milk, and a jar of Oreos! Your house has, and always will be, the hot spot for family time! Whether we are sitting at the kitchen table dunking our Oreos, shooting squirrels outside, or digging through the ‘toy closet’, you are the grandfather responsible for bringing nine children together and teaching us how to not only play together as a family, but love each other because we are family. Being a grandchild and a cousin in this family, I’ve learned a few things… I know what prime real estate is in the living room floor for seeing what everyone is unwrapping for Christmas; to appreciate the time it takes to watch each member of the family unwrap their gifts; and to hold every gift up with a smile on my face and to “look at Papaw” until a flash goes off! The best part of the Fischer family holiday celebrations is waiting to see who gets to open their gifts first, the youngest or the oldest! …And since you are the oldest member of this family, you are the ultimate Grandfather to all of us. You instilled in us family time and values, you were held accountable as a military man to teach us pride. This pride went far beyond family pride, or being able to say I’m a part of the Fischer family, but American pride. Not many soldiers came home from multiple wars able to show a positive attitude to their family after experiencing so
19: many gruesome details of our country’s history. You, however made us proud with every story you told, every parade or event you’ve been a part of – Proud to be part of such an incredible man’s family and proud to be an American. I, as your granddaughter, am proud to say I know how to play dominos, and I know a man who parachuted out of planes for his country. I know how to patiently wait until I’m old enough to sit with the adults, and I know someone who trudged through intense heat with heavy camo and gear laced around his body. I’m proud to say I know the importance of keeping in touch with your family, and someone who fought for my country, for my generation, and for my freedom. I’m proud to say that this person who is responsible for teaching me family values and pride is the same person who has taught me to truly appreciate my country and all acts of heroism for my freedom. I’m proud to say that the one person who has all of these qualities wrapped up in one is my Grandfather. …and through the eyes of a very much-loved grandchild, you’re not just my Grandfather, you’re my Papaw! I salute you, Papaw! Happy Father’s Day, Carrie Elizabeth Reese
20: Dear Papaw, You are a man who I have a great respect for. I have looked up to you and admired you for my entire life. Your military service means the world to me for several reasons. You served and protected the citizens of this wonderful country in several wars. You learned countless skills and values such as respect, honor, and the importance of family. Not only did you learn and teach these values within the military, but you applied them outside of the military as well. You taught these values to everyone in this wonderful family and I have learned so much from you. I have so many memories that will always be with me because of you. Memories like the first time you took me to get my haircut to finding playboy stashes and shooting tree rats. I can always reflect on these memories and they always put a smile on my face. You are one cool grandpa! You really know how to have fun and you are the foundation for this awesome family that you’ve built. I want to thank you for all the past memories and memories to come. I want to thank you for the advice that you’ve given me and the values you’ve taught to me. Most importantly, I want to thank you for being my Papaw! Love, Big Mike Michael Wayne Lucas
22: Papaw, You are my Hero. You always will be. You've taught me many life lessons that I will always use and live by. Words can't describe how much you mean to me, as a soldier, as a person, as my grandfather. I have never been more proud of something as I am of having you as my Papaw. I love you ! Joshua Martin Fischer
23: Papaw, You're a wonderful Grandpa and Father. You've taught so many valuable lessons that I will forever hold. You deserve everything. You're the best of the best, and no one will be able to compare. You've done the best, Grandpa. I love you more than life. Happy Father's day. Jamie Delane Fischer
24: Papaw, Before I explain to you how much your military service means to me, I want to first explain how much you mean to me. When I think of consistency, I think of my grandfather. Your house, your love, and your overall life have been the only main consistency in my life. I have always known that if I needed anything, ever, I could call you...or just stop by. Growing up, through all of my life changes I’ve dealt with, I’ve always known that you are there for me. One picture that still holds dear to me, and I’ve always remembered is the one of you and I lying on your living room floor, coloring. You, with your “oh, so stylish” cut-off blue-jean shorts, and me, with my cute little pigtails. Those are my most cherished memories of you and I together and I will always hold them dear to me. Moving on to your military service; I cannot explain to you how much your military service means to me and every other American citizen that walks this Earth today. I feel safe, because of your military service. I have freedoms that other citizens of other countries do not have, because of your military service. I have one of the best grandfather’s, because of your military service. I love you so much, and could never tell you enough! You are definitely one of my best friends, and every time we talk, I know how much our conversations mean to each other. Love, Princess (the one and only) Courtney Suzanne Lucas
26: Dear Papaw, I’m thankful you went into the army because it means you protected my mom’s family. I’m glad you didn’t get hurt and that you came home to my mom. It was so dangerous of you to go into the army but because you did, people are safe. I am glad you’re my papaw because you are so loving. I love to play dominos and I like to beat you!! We have fun together and that’s why I love you so much. I am proud that you served in the army and that you are my Papaw. Alexandra Lee Anne Owings
27: And even for Scott and his short time on this earth, he had already exemplified the characteristics of a wonderful grandson who respected and loved his family. We are pretty sure he inherited a good portion of his traits from you. You can't get any better than a salute from heaven ! The Heavenly Salute Cameron Scott Fischer
29: This book would not be complete without saluting the person who partnered with you in everything you did. Her support of your military career was instilled in us as children. She was the force behind the man we honor this Father's Day. The Most Respected Salute Normalee Ruth Lambert Fischer