World War II veteran Ed Sisson earned the Purple Heart while serving. He served in the United States infantry for three years. (Brianna Helton/Special to The Collegian)

By Erik Johnson
Staff reporter

Sergeant Ed Sisson served in World War II in the European theatre. He served for three years in the infantry before being discharged for a serious bullet wound to the head. He was drafted in 1943, right after he had graduated high school.

Before the service he worked in automotive shops and played football. “I was living the typical teenager life back then before the draft,” he said with a laugh. “It changed my life completely. I had to become a man faster than most and once we went to fight in the war, it separated the boys from the men. My family was proud that I wasn’t going to be some knucklehead causing trouble but they were also sad to see me go,” he said.

He has some special memories. With a big smile, he said, “I remember in ‘45 we went to England. It was real nice and beautiful. It was like a vacation even though the war was still going on.”

After he was discharged he went right back into the automotive repairing business. He was married for 62 years to his high school sweetheart. She passed away three years ago. He has four children, nine grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren. He did not go back. He said “I don’t ever want to go back. There is too much pain and sorrow. Since I was in the infantry we were always on the move, so I really was not stationed in just one spot.”

He has seen the War Memorials in Washington, D.C.  “I went years ago by myself and they are real nice. They bring back a lot of memories. I used to talk to two of the guys I served with until they passed away years ago.”

What does Veterans Day mean to him? He said “It means a lot to me. To have people honoring and also noticing that we served and fought for their freedom. It does my heart good to see that people won’t forget and appreciate the men and women that put their lives on the line just to see their family happy and free.”

Sisson earned the Purple Heart while serving in the Army. He moved to the Kansas Veterans Home after his wife passed. He jokingly said the food was great and he loved how the staff treats the vets.

If you ever want to see a true hero and hear great true stories take a trip to the Kansas Veterans Home. There are plenty of brave heroes there.

Erik Johnson is a freshman majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail him at erik.johnson@sckans.edu.