WWII vet has medallions
WILLMAR -- Delbert Bridge now has the two commemorative medallions he sought after the dedication of the state's World War II memorial in June. Bridge, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, was unable to attend the dedication, when the...
WILLMAR -- Delbert Bridge now has the two commemorative medallions he sought after the dedication of the state's World War II memorial in June.
Bridge, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, was unable to attend the dedication, when the medallions were given as a memento of the event.
The medallions were available for $19.95 for a limited time from Minnesota-based Jostens for veterans who were unable to attend the event.
However, Bridge thought it wasn't fair that disabled veterans would have to pay for the medals when they were given free to others. He also did not know about the relatively short timeline for ordering medals, and he missed it.
Bridge wanted two medallions, one for himself and one to honor his late wife, Lorraine, also a Navy veteran. He served on a variety of ships in the Pacific, and she was an aircraft mechanic stationed in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The day Bridge's story became public in the West Central Tribune, he received a call from a veteran who lived near Games Lake. The man told him that he had joined the military near the end of the war.
"He said he wasn't really in the active part of the war," Bridge said this week. He had attended the dedication, but having the medallion didn't mean as much to him as it did to Bridge, and he offered to give his to Bridge.
A few days later, a representative of the company which made the medallions for Jostens contacted Bridge and offered to sell him a medallion, an offer he accepted. The medallions are no longer for sale, he said, but the company apparently had a few of them still on hand.
Bridge said he's very pleased with the medallions and is happy to have them. It wasn't the cost of purchasing one so much as the principle of it, he said.
While he did buy one, Bridge still hopes that handicapped veterans or others who couldn't attend the dedication can receive medallions.
He said he was pleased to hear that some veteran organizations purchased medallions for their disabled members. The Olivia American Legion held a fundraising dinner Wednesday evening to help pay for medallions ordered last summer.
State officials said in August that the medallions were intended to be a memento of the dedication ceremony and not intended to be distributed to all veterans, but they became quite popular. Of the 360,000 Minnesotans who served in World War II, about 47,000 are still living.
Veterans can purchase other mementoes of the dedication.
A DVD, including photos, video and audio from the memorial dedication, may be ordered online at www.seasonsremembered.org or by sending a $15 check to Seasons Remembered, P.O. Box 170, Lakeville, MN 55044.
Information about the memorial and the ceremony, including photos, is available online at www.mdva . state.mn.us.