ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — On Memorial Day, many of us will be taking time to remember our veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
On Sunday, St. Paul resident Paul Reyburn received something special in remembrance of his father, who was a World War II veteran. A few months ago, a thief stole his father’s Purple Heart from inside Paul’s home.
But then a U.S. senator helped him figure out what to do about it. As WCCO’s Nina Moini found out, Paul’s father had even more unclaimed medals for his bravery.
“I didn’t know he had the until just over a year ago,” Paul Reyburn said.
He didn’t talk about the war much when he was alive, but when WWII Veteran Warren Reyburn passed away, his son held on tight to symbols of his bravery.
“I always kept the Purple Heart by the night stand,” Paul said.
Last November, a thief took Warren Reyburn’s Purple Heart. Paul Reyburn wasn’t sure it could be replaced.
It took months and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s help, but Paul learned his father had qualified for seven more medals, including the Bronze Star. He was a member of the 25th Infantry Division nicknamed “Tropic Lightning,” known for fighting 165 days without rest during the liberation of the Philippine Islands.
Surrounded by family and friends, Paul’s family got to honor his father during the holiday weekend.
“He was so brave and he was there for so long,” Amy Reyburn said.
It’s a chance to have something to hold again. When they talk about a father and husband who like so many others served his country, never expecting any medals in return.
“Ordinary people do pretty extraordinary things when they’re asked to,” Paul said.
Warren Reyburn would’ve turned 92 this fall. The government estimates about one million WWII veterans are still living, but about 500 a day are passing away. So these medals mean a lot to their surviving relatives.