Many individuals view the flag and see the beauty of what it means to be an American; many who see the flag are reminded of the troops who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms Americans enjoy today.
Daniel Bradley, 78, was a 1-year-old when his father, Paul Bradley, lost his life on March 1, 1945, in World War II, fighting in the European theater of the war. On Wednesday, Daniel Bradley was presented his father’s medals by Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita — 76 years later.
Paul Bradley was trained initially as a cook at Fort Sill in Oklahoma and was deployed with the 104th division in late 1944. Daniel Bradley followed his father’s footsteps and joined the Army during the Vietnam War.
“He was in England, France and Belgium and he was with the division when they crossed from Belgium into Germany,” Bradley said of his father. “They were near a town called Ichendorf, Germany, and he was wounded by mortar fire and died later that day.”
Bradley said receiving the medals was important because it’s part of the memory of his father that he doesn’t have but is building. Additionally, Bradley, a volunteer at Santa Clarita Veteran Services Collaborative, discovered how to request his father’s records.
The process took about three months, and Bradley reached out to Garcia’s office, and Matt Rogers, Garcia’s veteran liaison, helped to expedite the process.
As he reflects, Bradley admires his father’s legacy and what could have been.
“It’s very impressive and sad, of course, because I never got to know him,” Bradley said. “I don’t know what my life would have been like if he had survived.”
Bradley said he appreciated and thanked Garcia’s office for their hard work in helping him get his father’s medals.
Garcia, in his presentation, said his office enjoys helping the veteran community in getting documentation and medals that many never received.
“As your representative in Congress, it’s a huge honor of mine to be able to present you with the European, African-Middle Eastern campaign Award, the World War II Campaign medal for your father, and a copy of the Purple Heart that he deserves, and your family deserves,” Garcia said to Bradley as he presented the medals.
Garcia said that working for veterans is important to his office, and all representatives should work hard for their veterans. Getting Bradley his father’s medals was important to Garcia, who added that most veterans don’t care about the medals, but when it comes to their family, history and legacy, it’s crucial to provide that.
“It’s an honor to be able to just help Dan Bradley get the history of his family and the sacrifices that his dad made, and be officially recognized after 75 years,” Garcia said. “It shouldn’t take that long, it should have taken 75 days, but sometimes things don’t get taken care of like that.”
Garcia added that veterans seeking help should reach out to his office, and his team will help those veterans and all constituents in need. Additionally, he added that regardless of political affiliations, everyone needs to be there for veterans as a community.
“Our veterans are the ones who put it on the line, and at some point they signed up to potentially give their lives in support of our security,” Garcia said. “We can’t ever forget that, and just because they grow old doesn’t mean we stop taking care of them.”