World War II veteran basks in glory of long-delayed medals

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World War II veteran basks in glory of long-delayed medals

Cuyahoga Falls News Press – Overdue honors were bestowed upon a Fallsite Aug. 28 on a beautiful afternoon far removed from the battlefield conditions where they were earned.

Theodore Smith, now 92, was presented with the military medals he earned 70 years ago as a corporal in the 2nd Armored Division in the U.S. Army during World War II. Representatives from the office of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown arranged the ceremony for Smith and six other Summit County veterans before an Akron Aeros game at Canal Park. Brown is a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Tramonte Distributing (Miller Lite) sponsors “Veterans Appreciation Day” annually at an Akron Aeros game, according to Jim Pfander, executive vice president/chief operating officer for the Akron Aeros.

Smith served under General George S. Patton in campaigns in Africa, Sicily, France and Germany. When he was discharged from the Army in 1945, Smith says he received a bus ticket and his discharge papers, but not the medals he was due. “They were in a hurry to get the servicemen back home — and after 3 1/2 years [in the service], I was impatient, too,” Smith admits. Smith, who lived in Stow at the time he was drafted, says he didn’t even bring any clothing home, other than that on his back. Smith has lived in Cuyahoga Falls for the last 12 years.

Smith says he contacted Brown’s office this spring, requesting assistance in securing his medals because he wanted to show them to his grandchildren. “They’re getting inquisitive,” Smith says, “so I’m going to put them in a shadow box so they can see them when they come visit.” Smith says he’d unsuccessfully applied for the medals before, but was stymied because his Army records had been destroyed in a fire in St. Louis.

Smith and his wife, Mary, have two daughters and a son. Twenty family members attended the medal presentation.

“It was a pleasure to get them after all these years,” Smith says. “It’s a feeling you would only understand if you’d been through it yourself.”

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