Jacques was a truely remarkable man. He was a religious, hard working father of three lovely young daughters whom he and his devoted wife, Ollie, raised into fine upstanding young women.
By trade, Jacqeus was a farmer until 1957 when Hurricane Audry, after devestating the Louisiana coastline at Holly Beach, moved inland with still enough power to wipe out the crops that Jacques and his family had strived and work so hard for.
In later years, after losing his farm to the hurricane, Jacques became a carpenter. Much of his handiwork still exists around Acadiana in southwestern Louisiana.
Jacques also was a veteran of World War II.
He was a quiet man and seldom talked of his service to his beloved country.
And what service it was.
Jacques was an eye-witness to history.
Jacques served in the Army at the outbreak of the war. His duty station was at a little known place at the time...Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands.
Jacques was an anti-aircraft specialist and heavy truck driver while stationed at Schofield Barracks adjacent to Wheeler Field.
The morning of December 7, 1941, Jacques and his good friend Joe Lanclos were standing in the chow line awaiting their turn at a plate of pancakes -- one of his favorites.
Off in the distance, the men in the chow line saw a large formation of planes approaching. A little later, they were to learn the purpose of this formation of planes as they began their runs in on Wheeler Field, Shofield Barracks, and then on to the waiting ships in the harbor. The harbor was clearly visible from their vantage point.
The men in the chow line had little time to contemplate what was happening for as they stood spellbound by the armada of planes flying overhead at tree top level, all hell broke loose.
Jacques recalled of that event: "It was as if you could reach up and touch the belly of one of the planes which flew directly over the chow line". The picture was forever etched into his mind. He saw the pilot, with white scarf fluttering behind him, concentrating on something ahead of his plane, when momentairly, his machine guns began firing long bursts, sprouting up pieces of asphalt on the airfield adjacent to the chow line.
Then Jacques looked a little to the rear of the pilot and there behind the pilot, sat another Japanese airman. He had a big smile, from ear to ear and astoundedly, was waving merrily at the massed troops in the morning chow line.
Jacques was quickly brought back to reality as an explosion boomed a hundred yards away. This was from the bomb dropped by the same plane had been aimed at the armory. The local spies had done their homework.
This event and the subsequent events that happend from that moment on forever changed Jacques and made a deep lasting impression on him.
Yesterday, August 7, 2003, his daughter, my wife, and the family of Jacques Fuselier held services in his home town commemerating the passing of yet another WWII hero.
Prior to leaving for the church, a simple cermony was held by the local VFW unit. By the time the final salute of these comrads-in-arms was lowered, there was not a dry eye to be seen.
This same service had been perfomed time and time again with Jacques being one of the comrads-in-arms who would come to pay their respects to the family of yet, another fallen veteran. Jacques did this simple but moving duty up until the day he no longer could.
Now was his turn to receive this moving sendoff by his old comrads-in-arms.
At the grave site, a small family cemetery about 20 minutes drive from the church, a simple ceremony was once more enacted.
Two young soldiers from Ft. Polk, folded the flag -- draping Jacques casket -- into the traditional military triangle and then presented it to the grieving widow with a few quietly spoken words.
This was immediately followed by the sound of Taps played by three local high school students who had volunteered to honor a fallen veteran with their poignant notes of sorrow.
Jacques will be forever missed by his grieving wife, Ollie and his three daughters. He will also be sorely missed by the many folks who were forever touched by Jacques' easy going life style.
One who will miss him dearly is a grandson -- our son, and his wife, Jenn, who drove in from Dallas to pay their respect to not only a grandfather -- but, a friend.
Gabe spent many magical summers staying with his grandparents on their country farm learning and living the simple -- yet powerful -- values that Jacques and Ollie instilled into him.
Jacques was but a farmer, a carpenter and a citizen soldier. He lived his life as best he could and always was a true friend to anyone who needed a friend.
His passing will forever leave its mark on the family and friends who were fortunate enough to have been touched by his enduring spirit.
Jacques -- we will all miss you terribly.