ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — There are about 15,000 men in Minnesota with a rare distinction: They are surviving veterans of World War II. On Sunday morning, 12 of them were honored in a way that brought several to tears.
The gifting ceremony took place during the Sunday service at the Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel. The local men range in age from their late 80s to 96.
It was a group of Minnesota seamstresses who surrounded them with warmth. No doubt they’ve been honored before, but on this day they were enveloped with praise, each presented with a Quilt of Valor.
“I wanted to start at the top, the oldest because they are slowly leaving us and I just wanted them to be honored and know they were appreciated for what they did,” Lenore Brown with Quilts of Valor said.
So she and quilters from all over the Twin Cities individualized them, writing the rack and years of service on the inside of each handmade piece.
Some took 40 hours apiece to make. Donald Minor, a former motor machinist first class said, “This is going to cover me up and in Minnesota we need those, you know.”
Robert Baumgarten, who served in Nuremberg, will take his with him and his puppy on a road trip to Florida.
“It really got to me. I don’t know, sentimental I guess,” Baumgarrten said.
Sgt. Chuck Andrews says his will, in his heart, be shared.
“The sad thing is a lot of those guys that I got to know personally, they gave the ultimate, they gave their lives,” Andrews said.
Colonel Roger Jewett, 96, has witnessed a lot but this was a treat for his eyes.
“Good to see there’s patriotism and loyalty left in the country,” he said.
With humility and humor, Normady veteran Jim Carroll said, “I feel pretty good even though I’m an old rag.”
From Normandy to Minnesota, they wore again the colors they fought for in the country they still live for, Caroll said.
“It was an honor to serve. I’d do it all over again,” he said.
The ladies with Quilts of Valor said they are happy to make a personalized quilt for any veteran. Here is how to order a quilt through the Quilts of Valor.