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World War II Vet honored 20 years after his death with the Bronze Star
GHENT -- 70 years after serving in World War II, and 20 years after his death, Richard Howland's family will receive the Bronze Star on his behalf Thursday. Howland was in combat during some of the heaviest action in Europe during the war, and now all of his other awards will be reissued as well, including his Combat Infantry Badge. This is something Howland's family had to fight for.
"Almost everybody is gone, his unit is gone, his compatriots are gone. I think some of it has to do with the fact that the government is not as responsive to these things as it has been and should be. Frankly I think I'd like to see more veterans in veterans agencies," says Rich Howland Jr.
For about three years, Richard Howland Jr. worked tirelessly to get his father the honor he deserved. A Massachusetts native, the family tried in that state and came up short. It wasn't until a few months ago, that his father's story was brought to the attention of Command Sergeant Major, Gary Flahert in Columbia County, something was finally done.
"People in Columbia County in New York related to it where Massachusetts, and the routine process of federal government did not," Howland says.
He says his father served for two years, and when he returned from the war, he was never recognized properly because he didn't like talking about the bad experiences.
"He was trapped behind the lines, I can tell you that he was hit with a German 88, out of a tank. He never reported it, he never talked about it but the documentation we have and the old history including witness accounts from the Netherlands from a friend of the family it does say that was the reason he was brought to the hospital," he tells us.
The ceremony will be happening Thursday afternoon at 4:30 at the Ghent VFW on Route 66. Congressman Chris Gibson will be awarding the Bronze Star.