KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Veteran Dick Clark remembered serving in World War II, he said. He was with the Merchant Marines “hauling troops” around the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. One memory he said he'll never forget was when the war was over and they returned home to the United States.
“We’re coming to San Francisco. We’re going under the Golden Gate Bridge and they’re playing God Bless America,” Clark said fighting back tears while shaking his head. “I, I still remember. I’m sorry.”
Tears filled the 91-year-old’s eyes as he continued to share his story at the Salvation Army’s Veterans Stand Down event Friday morning. Dozens of people, many of whom were veterans themselves, stood and listened while they honored him for a few minutes.
“He said ‘are they really medals?’” joked Congressman Fred Upton while holding the glass box they were in. He turned to Clark and said “Yes they are.”
Upton gave him four medals, one for each war zone he entered. He also presented him with a framed letter they wrote highlighting his bravery and leadership, signing it with former president Harry Truman’s signature.
“It feels pretty good,” Clark said. “It kind of closes an era for me, really, you know. That was the one thing that was missing.”
Clark's wife and one of his many grandson's were there to honor him. They brought along a scrapbook he created of his documents and pictures from his time in war. Clark said he served in the war because he loves his country. However getting the recognition was nice too.
“I’m very thankful,” Clark said. “I was very lucky. The good Lord looked after me all the time.”