Better late than never

September 5, 2012 Editorial Staff
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It was a big day for Paul Birkelund, 71, who on Tuesday, September 4 received his Cold War Certification of Recognition and Defense medal.

Birkelund served in the U.S Army during the years 1958 through 1961, but due to “paperwork, and overseas records that didn’t make it back” at the time, he did not receive — until now — the acknowledgement that he deserved, explained Congressmember Michael Grimm, who presented him with his overdue medal.

Grimm explained that such a state of affairs is, in fact, “very common.”

However, Grimm wanted to make sure that Birkelund understood that “he is special and that he, and all veterans, are remembered.

“They should never be forgotten,” added Grimm. “Their service is invaluable; it transcends generations. I, as an ex-Marine, share pride to get the job done.

Colonel Eluyn Gines, commanding officer of Fort Hamilton, and Sergeant Major Hector Prince attended the ceremony, which took place at 4 p.m. at Grimm’s office, 7308 13th avenue.

“We cannot thank you enough,” Gines expressed. He thanked the veteran for his contributions to this nation and “for setting the path to become who we are today.”

Happily, Birkelund accepted his award and said that it felt “fantastic,” to be officially appreciated finally.

Birkelund is a native Brooklynite; he was born in Methodist Hospital, and attended Fort Hamilton High School.

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