A blogger who calls himself “deathbyinches” wrote the Times about Van Buren’s grief in the wake of the May 24 car-bomb killing of soldier Spc. Dustin Fisher, 22, in Iraq.
“Today … two uniformed soldiers showed up at my youngest daughter’s school, Darby Junior High here in Fort Smith. They were looking for Darby’s favorite teacher, Mr. Waldo Fisher … that one good teacher that gives 110 percent … that one good teacher the kids will remember all their lives. They came to inform Mr. Fisher that his son had been killed in Iraq yesterday.
“With tears streaming down his face, the first thing Mr. Fisher did was take down his son’s service star he had posted in the window of his classroom. He then slammed the door to be alone. School was over for the day as the news spread and most of the kids dissolved into tears.
“They knew that tall, white-haired Waldo Fisher was a Vietnam veteran himself. Most of them knew he personally thought that Bush was wrong, but was proud his son was serving his country, as he had done at the same age. Another war that produced nothing good, and killed 58,151 U.S. soldiers.
“The kids are betting that Mr. Fisher will be at the National Cemetery tomorrow morning to lead the setting up of hundreds of little U.S. flags, as he has done every Memorial Day for the last 15 years. From this man, they have learned what it really means to love this country, even before today. Unlike the cowards in D.C., from this man many kids have learned what it means to be a man. My whole family and many others will be there in the morning to help with the flags and for that I’m very proud.”
The next day’s update:
“Yep. Mr. Fisher showed up as expected. He walked around hugging members of his Vietnam Vets group of which he is president. Hugged the rest of us too and thanked us for coming out to do his job. He had to leave to meet with the military officials about getting his son’s body home. It was clear he needed to go back home anyway. Is there anything sadder than seeing John Wayne using every fiber in his soul just to stand up and say thanks to people who care? About two minutes was all he could do, then he ran back to his truck as fast as he could go, no doubt hiding his tears. I’m glad he ran too, so he couldn’t see all the rest of us grown people crying. With the help of two busloads of very somber junior high kids the thousands, not hundreds, of flags went up in one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the country and we did it this year for Waldo and Brenda Fisher and their lost son Dustin and his wife of just a few days, Alicia. As jaded as I am, it’s impossible to not feel patriotic standing in the middle of thousands of markers of fallen heroes in a sea of American flags.”
Back on safer ground, at the Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, the Promise Keepers Christian men’s group is getting ready to tee it up for a golf tournament.
That men golf is not surprising. Learning that there is a golf association with the trademark “In His Grip” made us shank it into the parking lot.
Perhaps it’s the logo for the group — a close-up photograph of a man’s hand on the grip of a golf club — that rattled us. It is apparently a depiction of God’s hand (it’s ungloved, and hairy) getting ready to hook it 300 yards down the middle of the fairway for guys who, were they not filled with the spirit, would be duffers. Golf apparently helps fulfill PK Promise No. 2: “A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.”
Now, The Observer’s father, who played in what’s called a gripesome — a slow-moving group of six — every Sunday morning, probably needed brothers to help him keep his promises, like when he promised he’d swung only once with his eight iron, instead of using the old foot mashie, to get out of the rough. With the PKs around, who knows what his handicap might have been.
He wouldn’t have been playing on a Sunday, that’s for sure.