WAYNESVILLE, Mo. — An American war hero’s daughter gave a final farewell to her father, Walter Dixon, who was considered deceased nearly 70 years ago.
“To see people out of their cars saluting, people in uniform, others were veterans, others just had their hand over their heart. It was just very heartwarming to me and very special,” said Randi Long, Dixon’s daughter.
Dixon, an army veteran, was a POW during the Korean War for more than two years.
In 1951, Dixon’s family got a letter from President Truman saying he was dead. But according to Dixon’s son, that wasn’t the case.
Russell Dixon, Walter Dixon’s son, says his dad used his past to be a better parent.
“Whenever we would say something negative, he’d say ‘No. That’s negative. Think positive.’,” Russell said.
“He taught a lot about how to survive too. He taught us gardening. He taught us how to fish and hunt. He taught us a lot. He was one of my mentors.”
When Walter was announced dead prematurely, his daughter, Randi, wasn’t born yet.
“I have two adult sons, ages 21 and 23, and realizing that my father was captured when he was 22, trying to imagine how my Aunt Lorraine,” Randi said. “I can’t imagine how she must’ve felt hearing that, and then the relief that she had when he returned.”
Her father brought back some lessons that she says she will never forget.
“Working hard, not giving up, finding the good things, and not letting stress getting to you, trying to find a way forward,” Randi said.
On Tuesday (02/11/20), people Walter helped in his 91-year-old life honored his legacy. Walter’s daughter says she will continue her father’s legacy by keeping a positive attitude, staying active in her community and thinking about her father every day.
“I was so touched. I mean, the caisson was beyond anything I’ve ever expected for my father’s funeral,” Randi said.