Newhall resident Daniel Bradley, a Vietnam veteran and Gold Star son, had the chance to fly to Washington, D.C., to attend a reception at the White House to honor Gold Star families and their loved ones who’ve died in service Sunday.
In the event hosted by President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, the president addressed the families to open the ceremony, which Bradley said was everything he’d hoped for and more.
“It was a very moving ceremony,” Bradley said. “They did one-by-one lighting of the candles for each family. Everybody there was just as nice as could be.”
As a U.S. Army veteran himself, Bradley said it was an honor to meet so many high-brass military members.
“There was a Gold Star father of a Marine killed in Afghanistan that gave some moving remarks, as well,” Bradley added.
For Bradley, whose father was killed in action during World War II when Bradley was not even 2 years old, attending the ceremony gave him a chance to give his father the honors that he was due, he said.
Bradley’s father, Paul, was deployed with the Army’s 104th Infantry Division to Europe, spending some time in England, France and Belgium.
“In late February of 1945, the 104th crossed the river from Belgium into Germany,” Bradley said, “and just a few days later, he was killed in action.”
Paul Bradley was mortally wounded by mortar fire on March 1, 1945, in Ichendorf, Germany.
Bradley also served in the Army from 1966-71, attending Officer Candidate School in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, before being commissioned a second lieutenant in field artillery.
He spent some time stationed at Fort Ord, California, until he went back to Fort Sill for an artillery refresher course before his deployment to combat action in South Vietnam.
He remembers his time in Vietnam well, “sometimes in the middle of the night,” he said, especially the night of April 13, 1970, when his base was attacked.
“I remember that night quite a bit,” he added. Eighty enemy soldiers and seven U.S. soldiers were killed that night.
During Bradley’s trip to D.C., he was also able to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall at the National Mall, another memory he’ll treasure.