Ninety-seven-year-old Private First Class Arthur Brodin was simply grateful for his Colorado home and his health. But during a private tour to the WWII battle sites Brodin served at, his family realized that their beloved patriarch was entitled to more.
In recognition of the 75th anniversary of the war's end, Brodin's family made plans for a private tour of the WWII battle sites, the report said; however, they were prompted by the tour guide to ensure that Brodin wore his medals. The veteran's daughter-in-law, Lisa Brodin, said that he didn't have any, according to the report.
"I was thankful I came out of [the war] with a broken ankle and some other injuries, partial injuries, to my body," Brodin told Littleton Independent.
"It amounted to a 10 percent disability. I was very thankful to come home with that much."
Yet, Brodin's family made inquiries at U.S. Rep. Ken Buck's office, the report said. The family learned that Brodin was entitled to seven medals for his service: the Good Conduct Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and Bronze Star Attachment (Triple), the WWII Victory Medal, the Army Occupation Medal and Germany Clasp, the Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII, and the Marksman Badge and Rifle Bar.
On Sept. 26, a ceremony was held in Castle Rock to honor Brodin. A WWII-era jeep escorted Brodin from his home to the Amphitheater at Philip S. Miller Park, and commendation was delivered by Castle Rock Mayor Jason Gray.
Recognizing the nonagenarian veteran's service, Buck said that Brodin "did his job, came back to America and just got right back to it." Buck credited Brodin's generation of servicemen for affording Americans the freedoms they enjoy today.
"It's great for us in a time when we are divided like this to look back and see a time when our country came together to take on a struggle," Buck said.
Officials wrote: "Thank you for your service, PFC Brodin! We are honored to have you as part of our Castle Rock community."
"We salute you Sir, and all those who fought with you to keep us safe," one supporter commented.
"I'm so glad that the people that served in the military are honored as they should be, makes my heart glad," wrote another.
Littleton Independent reported that Brodin enlisted into the U.S. Army at Fort Logan, Denver, in April 1943, as a surgical technician. The young tech was involved in preparations for D-Day, experiencing a near-miss in a glider crash just eight days after the operation was launched.
Brodin recalled that his crew's assignment was to place bombs on bridges coming into Utah Beach; the officer in charge was killed in the crash, but the crew carefully relocated his body and fulfilled their mission, the report said. The veteran remembered desperate fuel shortages, trudging through muddy trenches in Saar Valley, Germany, and fighting in the Battle of the Bulge as some of the most poignant moments in his military career.
After honorable discharge on Feb. 5, 1946, Brodin returned home in Longmont, Colorado. He met his late wife, Luella, in Denver, and the couple welcomed three children together.
Now a loving great-grandfather and still driving at 97, Brodin lives in Castle Rock and only started sharing war stories in recent years, the report said.
"Being able to converse about it and ask questions and get more of what he did and what it meant to him to be in the military, it was great," one of Arthur's sons, Robert Brodin, told the Littleton Independent.
"It's these medals and these stories that people need to understand."