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For WWII veteran, military citations arrive after long wait

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#1 JCFalkenbergIII



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Posted 03 February 2008 - 09:40 PM

For WWII veteran, military citations arrive after long wait

A little bit of small talk got Sgt. James Grimes big rewards.

Grimes, who served in General George S. Patton's Third Army in World War II, last week received seven medals earned for his service in Europe.
The medals, a Bronze Star Medal for heroism, an American Theatre Ribbon, a European-African-Middle Eastern Theatre Ribbon with four bronze stars, a Good Conduct Medal, a World War II Victory Medal, an Honorable Service Lapel Button and a Rifle Bar, were for the 16 months Grimes served in seven European countries.
"I'm short of words," Grimes said after receiving the medals from U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.).
But, it was the war stories he told around the Lexington Senior Citizens Center that prompted a receptionist to help track down his medals.
"He would come in and eat lunch and go to the front of the building and sit near the windows," said Sean Wright, the center's manager, "and he would have small talk with the receptionist, and she discovered the situation."
Joan Williams, the center's receptionist, called Chandler's office.
"I like listening" to the stories, Williams said, "and I thought, 'We can get those (awards) replaced. We got a congressman that can do that.'"
Chandler was that congressman. Chandler said he was moved when he heard Grimes' story and wanted to get the old soldier the medals.
"These people, many of them have given their lives and put themselves in harm's way to protect us," he said. "Most of us don't do that."
Grimes, 84, served in the Army from May 1943 to January 1946. The government was supposed to send his medals and ribbons to his parents, but Grimes said he received only one award. The others never came.
Grimes described fighting on the front line "hundreds of times," including in the Battle of the Bulge, the last Nazi offensive against the Allies. During one battle, Grimes and his fellow soldiers nearly surrendered, but fought their way free.
And Grimes is quick to say that he came home without a scratch.
"Just going through it all and not being injured," Grimes said as he lowered his gaze and shook his head.

For WWII veteran, military citations arrive after long wait

For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman.

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