Pete Arnold was acknowledged as a veteran recently decorated by the General Counsel of France with an award for his time served in 1944 on Omaha Beach during the Battle of Normandy. The award outlined how much France thanked Arnold and many other fellow soldiers who are part of the reason it is living in peace today.
The former Lancaster fire chief of 15 years, Ken Adams, also was recognized. Adams joined the Army in 1957 after high school, going on to serve with the military police for the next four years.
Adams joined the fire department in 1960 and later became postmaster in Stanford before retiring from the post office, and then becoming fire chief in Lancaster.
Adams gave a presentation about the Purple Heart, telling students, visitors and veterans the history of the medal as it pertained to General George Washington.
Given for sacrifice
"Back then, Washington wanted to recognize all his people with not only promotions, but a raise," Adams explained, but soon Congress had to put a stop to this, saying it could no longer afford the raises
"This is how the Purple Heart started, beginning first as a purple badge of merit with white lace," Adams said. Adams said Washington had his pick of men to honor with it, such as highly decorated officers, but gave it first to three sergeants.
That was in 1782, and the Purple Heart was not re-established until 1932, given only to soldiers who have been wounded or killed in combat.
"Something I want you all to think about," Adams said. "This medal cannot be earned by courage, exceptional service or achievement. It's given for sacrifice. For sacrifice, only. Think on that one."
Adams asked all Purple Heart recipients to stand in the crowd. Lloyd B. Simpson, Army veteran from the 83rd Division who was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge, was one of those.
"It's at home, in a really nice frame on the mantle," Simpson said of his medal.
62 years later
Simpson proposed to his fiancee, Wanda, just before leaving for the war.
He gave her the ring on Jan. 5, 1944, Wanda said, but told her he didn't want to marry yet.
"I told her," Lloyd said, as he paused to regain his breath after crying, "I didn't want to leave her a widow."
"The 10th of January, 1945," Wanda said was when Lloyd was wounded. He almost did leave her, she said.
All Lloyd said though his tears was "It was so cold." Wanda said they had no jackets or warm gear.
"But he didn't leave me," Wanda said, patting Lloyd's hand as he held his walker. The couple have been married 62 years.