The wait is over: WWII veteran finally receives medals after 71 years


Arnold Hjermstad had to wait a long time for a medal he earned during the war.

It's been 71 years since he earned the Legion of Merit award for his service during World War II, and on Saturday the 96-year-old veteran finally received the prestigious honor.

Hjermstad was nominated to receive the commendation in 1944 after serving in North Africa and Europe during the war, but due to bureaucratic errors, he never got them, a news release notes.

Instead of focusing on getting his awards, he opened a hardware store in Cannon Falls and raised a family, the Red Wing Republican Eagle reports.

“When he came back from the war, he was a humble person. He wanted to get on with life,” his son, Bob Hjermstad, told the newspaper.

That didn't stop his children from trying. Since the 1970s, the three Hjermstad brothers have tried to secure the commendation for his father before it was too late, but they kept running into delays and obstacles.

But finally, after contacting U.S. Rep. John Kline – also a veteran – their father got the honor he deserved.

Hjermstad was also presented with a handful of other awards, including: the European-Africa Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Army of Occupation Medal, KDHL says.

He was also awarded the French Knight Legion of Honor – the highest honor available to noncitizens – after being told he'd receive the award back in October, the Pioneer Press notes.

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