Quite a few of us grew up with Captain Kangaroo, as you or your children probably did. I knew nothing of his background, only that his show was both entertaining, educational, and as kids, we looked forward to it with great anticipation. Captain Kangaroo turned 76 recently (DOB: 6/27/27); It reminded me of the following story. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Some people have been a bit offended that the actor Lee Marvin is buried in a grave alongside 3- and 4-star generals at Arlington National Cemetery. His marker gives his name, rank (PTV) and service (USMC). Nothing else. Here's a guy who was only a famous movie star who served his time....why does he rate burial with 4-star generals? Following is the amazing answer.
I always liked Lee Marvin, but did not know the extent of his Corps experiences. In a time when many Hollywood stars served their country in the armed forces, often in rear-echelon posts where they were carefully protected, only to be trotted out to perform for the cameras in war bond promotions, Lee Marvin was a genuine hero. He won the Navy Cross at Iwo Jima. There is only one higher Naval award - the Medal Of Honor. If that is a surprising comment on the true character of the man, he credits his sergeant with an even greater show of bravery. Dialog from The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson: His guest was Lee Marvin.
Johnny said, "Lee, I'll bet a lot of people are unaware that you were a Marine in the initial landing at Iwo Jima ... and that during the course of that action you earned the Navy Cross and were severely wounded."
"Yeah, yeah," replied Marvin, "I got shot square in the a** and they gave me the Cross for securing a hot spot about halfway up Suribachi...bad thing about getting shot up on a mountain is guys gettin' shot hauling you down. But Johnny, at Iwo I served under the bravest man I ever knew... We both got the Cross the same day, but what he did for his Cross made mine look cheap in comparison. The dumb b****** actually stood up on Red beach and directed his troops to move forward and get the hell off the beach. That Sergeant and I have been lifelong friends. When they brought me off Suribachi we passed the Sergeant and he lit a smoke and passed it to me, lying on my belly on the litter, and said, 'Where'd they get you Lee?' 'Well, Bob ... if you make it home before me, tell Mom to sell the outhouse!' Johnny, I'm not lying... Sergeant Keeshan was the bravest man I ever knew..... Bob Keeshan... You and the world know him as Captain Kangaroo."
On another note, there was this wimpy little man (who recently passed away) on PBS, gentle and quiet. Mr. Rogers is another of those you would least suspect of being anything but what he now portrays to our youth. But Mr. Rogers was a U.S. Navy Seal, combat proven in Vietnam with over twenty-five confirmed kills to his name. He wore a long sleeve sweater to cover the many tattoos on his forearms and biceps. A master in small arms and hand-to-hand combat, able to disarm or kill in a heartbeat. He hid that away and won our hearts with his quiet wit and charm.
America's real heroes don't flaunt what they did, they quietly go about their day-to-day lives doing what they do best. They earned our respect and the freedoms that we all enjoy.
Look around and see if you can find one of those heroes in your midst. Often, they are the ones you'd least suspect, but would most like to have on your side if anything ever happened.
Just a side note, Mr. Rogers was also an ordained Presbyterian minister.