On the Beat: 5/17/16

My dad, my hero

By Jim Bucher

Ever notice life is full of “would have, could have, should have?” You know, wish I “would have” done this or “could have” or “should have” done that.

Well, this particular writing is about my dad James G. Bucher, who we lost in 1997. He was a WWII vet and, like many, his life at 20-years-old was completely turned upside down when the draft notice came to serve his country.

He didn’t bat an eye and signed and served with dignity and honor.

My personal “would have, could have, should have” list of regrets is that I didn’t sit down with him and record his memories from almost four years in the USAAF (United States Army Air Force) in the Pacific theatre.

Why didn’t I, especially working in local TV news here for so long with a video camera at my disposal every day?

Can’t answer that one, other than I thought dad was invincible, that he’d be around forever and I’d get around to it eventually.

Alas, that day didn’t happen.

Let me tell you about my pops. A quiet, unassuming, humble man who, like many WWII veterans, didn’t talk about his experiences. He was a part of the “greatest generation” of millions who when called served valiantly with bravery, honor and selfless devotion for freedom and to protect our everyday life here at home.

‘Big Jim’ (guess who was ‘Little Jim’?) was born in Dayton, Ohio, Aug. 29, 1921. His dad, Joe, and mom, Dora, soon after moved into the middle class neighborhood of Five Oaks in Dayton in 1925. A home, by the way, I still live in with my two kids.

He had a brother Joe who also served and sister, Kay, all living a few houses away in the neighborhood—a family so close that the same key fit all three residences’ locks.

When dad was called to serve his country soon after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, every single day he wrote about the happenings in a diary. Mundane things like “ate rice again, dysentery later” to “thought we were being attacked, but was some rookie accidentally discharging his weapon.” And the classic “was shaving as Gen. Douglas MacArthur drove by in his Jeep, I forgot to salute.”

Little tidbits of information on everyday life that mean the world to me now.

While dad was on the other side of the world, his father passed away here at home. Can’t imagine the helplessness knowing he died so far away.

After returning home, he met my mom, Cookie, fell in love, married and took a job with the Dayton Metropolitan Housing Authority, his career for 25 years. Raised two boys, my brother, Tom, and yours truly.

Many of his buddies never made it back, and, to my knowledge, dad didn’t experience much combat action being a Morse Code Operator. But for whatever the reason, he never spoke of his time overseas.

He did mention once that he’d love to revisit the Philippines, but, unfortunately, that never materialized.

Like many of our fathers, he was larger than life. Big, strong hands and my buddy, mentor, confidante and life coach. Couldn’t have asked for a better dad.

If you’ll allow me then to tell you about an event Memorial Day Weekend at the Dayton VA that my pops would of loved.

It’s called the Patriot Freedom Festival put on by the scrappiest bunch of hardworking volunteers ever.

The group is part of the American Heritage Veterans Center, a nonprofit corporation with an exciting mission honoring the accomplishments of veterans while preserving a priceless piece of national and local history, the Soldiers Home.

The festival will offer honoring ceremonies, tours of the historic grounds, historical military reenactors, equestrian team, the Miami Valley Military History Museum, which is teeming with memorabilia, music, food and more Saturday and Sunday of the holiday weekend.

I’m proud to be on board as the event emcee. Think my dad would be proud.

So, do I regret the “would have, could have, should have?”

Yes, of course. But I know one thing: as the son of a veteran who served his country, like the 1 percent protecting us today all over the world, you have a better appreciation of the sacrifices from our military men and women.

So before any more regrets, I thank you all for protecting the homeland and, if I may, a civilian salute to each and every one of you and your families. We as a country can’t do enough.

For saying that, I have no regrets.

God Bless you all and God Bless America!



For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com

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Megan Garrison grew up in the small town of Lampasas, Texas, spending her time immersed in Ernest Hemingway novels and dreaming of being a journalist one day. Now she attends the University of Dayton and is hard at work studying to be a war-time correspondent. Though she is very goal oriented and works hard to achieve her dreams she also loves to have a little fun. She DJs her own radio show on Flyer Radio and makes it a point to attend great movies and local concerts. But her greatest love will always be books.

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