Veteran Honored 70 Years After Death With Bronze Star, Purple Heart

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A fallen Minnesota veteran was honored Thursday more than 70 years after his death.

Sergeant Gerald Jacobsen was declared missing in action during World War II. Last month, DNA tests confirmed his remains found in an unmarked grave in France. He died at the age of 27, shortly after his regiment landed on the beaches of Normandy.

Catherine Tauer, his widow, finally had answers.

“I was crying but I was happy because we waited so long,” Tauer said.

Tauer, who is 94 today, never gave up hope that Sgt. Jacobsen would be found.

“You (Catherine) kept the letters he sent you, you kept his picture at your bedside,” Senator Amy Klobuchar said.

On Thursday, Tauer was moved to tears as she accepted the Bronze Star and Purple Heart Medals on Sgt. Jacobsen’s behalf at a ceremony held at the Veterans Service Building in St. Paul.  She said she hopes his legacy will be to help other families with missing service members to find answers, sooner. Senator Klobuchar says she will continue that fight.

“Catherine here is 94 years old,” Senator Klobuchar said. “A lot of these families don’t have that much more time to wait.”

Senator Klobuchar sent a letter to the U.S Secretary of Defense James Mattis on July 5, calling for improvements to identify unknown fallen service members.

Jacobsen will be buried with full military honors at Fort Snelling on July 14.

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