Missing you, Rick
September 25, 2002
Hey Rick Beusch …
I came by to sit on your chair, man, to walk on the sidewalk that you and your buddies built on top of ribbons and medals from another time.
I miss you, man. Miss our talks standing in the rain, miss your articulate, clipped conversation, your knowing, seeing face and somber eyes. I miss Claire, too, as I know you honored her bravery and example.
Once you spoke of “Those who choose not to participate in life” in reference to their generation’s challenges. That is my favorite Rick Busch saying. God, we miss seeing you, even from a distance watching you walk down the street.
It’s a beautiful autumn, Rick. The trees, grasses and breeze are diminished without you, yet nourished in your spirit they carry for eternity.
I guess, Rick, that I picture you in memory’s slumber, your compassion standing at attention with your friends, your soul at rest but with a twinkle in your eyes. Rick, you taught me about honor and resolution, about taking responsibility for our actions.
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The sun warms my back as I look across at Claire’s “Another Mother For Peace” marble bench. I remember when you told the “good Father” from across the street concerning his reservations at the new Vietnam memorial. “No Father,” you said. “It’s a tornado of emotions.”
Few know the tornado or comet that crossed their lives known as Rick Buesh. Only a privileged number knew of your actions and wounds in Vietnam, or your valor.
Think of an expatriate Vietnam veteran walking along Paris boulevards with a beautiful actress holding tight to his jovial arm. Picture that same vet speaking earnestly in French to a drop-dead gorgeous beauty in a Manhattan bar. That was Rick, his friends say.
Of Aspen, Rick, I think you know. It was time to move on. You came back from your journey to Vietnam in 1999, or maybe 2000, I don’t remember. You and the ex-NVA colonel toasted each other all night in a forgotten Vietnam village ripened with the blood, bones and ghosts of warriors from both sides, united in communion.
You told me of flying into Thailand prior to entering Vietnam. “In Thailand, I purchased an AK-47 from the black market so I’d be protected from bandits in country.” As you drove in the hills north of Saigon two or three days later, bandits fired on your car. You stuck the machine gun out the window and returned fire and they were heard from no more.
I love that story, Rick, or when you “braced and dropped” a drunk Vietnamese who was disturbing you and the colonel.
You hated piety, Rick, in reference to war or its practitioners. Yet, I tremble at air shows, at the monstrous weaponry of war, the mind-kneeling assault of a jet aircraft’s thunder as it blasts overhead.
I trembled in communion with the Iraqi “Palace Guard” massacre as they hurried to their homes and families in ?91. We talked together as you shared to me your great concerns for your country in that bloodbath. The irony, Rick, is yet another Bush saber-rattles ad nauseum when his father didn’t finish the job.
Rick, you’re with me today as I sit on your beautifully sculpted bench. You’re sitting at Bentley’s or the J-Bar. You’re walking trails in the bush to bring home your buddies, dead or barely alive.
The moon watches over you in that great hall of men who experienced too much, lost that which was irreplaceable, yet carried every day of their lives memories of too much death, loss and suffering.
You are at peace with the brethren; your Semper Fidelis brothers. The flag over you moves gently. People at a distance stand hushed at your room where you sleep in vigilant guard.
God bless all nations that such men walked and left the peace and beauty such as that we enjoy in Aspen and in America.
Grand Junction, Colo.