Its never too late to receive recognition

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Pacific Historian
Jun 4, 2005
Orange County, CA
I saw this in todays paper.

Article: News - World War II veteran gets his due

World War II veteran gets his due
Bronze Star recipient hopes others seek medals.

The Orange County Register

BRONZE STAR: The order for Stanley Liebert's award was given on Aug. 24, 1962. The medal came in May.

Six decades before Stanley Liebert received his Bronze Star, he read in a newspaper about the events of D-Day.

That moment, the 17-year-old went straight to an Army recruiting office in Los Angeles.

"I was a proud American. I wanted to be a part of this," said the Mission Viejo resident, now 79. "I remember the morning distinctly."

He was met by a sergeant, "an old bucktoothed guy with jaundiced eyes," and tried to convince him he was 19 and old enough to enlist.

It didn't work, but the sergeant told him where to get a fake ID card.

Two hours later, Liebert signed up.

Liebert says that nothing about his war experience, save perhaps his enlistment, was unusual.
He trained at Camp Roberts in central California and was outfitted with a bayonet and a gas mask. A month later, he found himself at the Battle of the Bulge in Hagenau, France.

With Germans attacking from all sides, he started throwing grenades, even taking them from fellow soldiers.

"I went crazy. I hated 'em," he said of the enemy.

Everyone around him fought, he said. But for his actions on that day in January 1945, he earned a Bronze Star.

He didn't know it until two years ago.

Liebert had thought he deserved a Purple Heart for wounds suffered in a February 1945 battle.
Again, a newspaper article triggered him. On Nov. 2, 2000, he read in USA Today about World War II veterans receiving medals for actions in combat more than a half-century ago. Others in Orange County have earned military honors decades after their service.

Liebert had mixed feelings when he submitted a request for a Purple Heart.

"I didn't want to go through the bureaucracy," he said. "I didn't want to look like an egotistical maniac."

He never received a Purple Heart or any response.

Instead, two years ago, a letter arrived at his Casta Del Sol home informing him that he had been awarded a Bronze Star. The order had been given on Aug. 24, 1962, by President Kennedy.

The medal came in May, 61 years after World War II ended. There was no ceremony; Liebert said he didn't need one.

Liebert says he wants to inspire other veterans to seek their medals. He also wants to share his memories with his two grandchildren.
Justin, 21, and Cameron Harp, 17, remember when "Papa" first told them about the war.

About nine years ago, Justin was trying to earn extra credit in his synagogue class. The assignment was to collect memories from a grandparent.

"A lot of it was brand new to me," Justin said. "I never even considered what he did when he was in the war; I just knew he was in the war."

As Jews, the children were moved to hear their grandfather tell them about the concentration camp outside Dusseldorf-Essen, which his division helped liberate.

"In my eyes, he definitely was a war hero," Justin said.

Liebert resists the word "hero," but he knows his family is proud of him. The medals, whether they include the Purple Heart, are for them.

"It's something we can keep in the family forever," Cameron said.
It's bizarre that we've heard of many of these cases in like the past 10 years, so long after the war. They still review air combat reports and "new" aces are made when they decide to confirm some guy's 5th kill in 2002!!

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