Lost Medal of Honor awarded again to family of fallen soldier

Highlands Ranch ceremony focuses on veteran appreciation

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Seeking to mitigate a sad event, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck presented the family of a fallen World War II soldier with the Medal of Honor on Nov. 11 as part of a special Veterans Day ceremony in Highlands Ranch.
 
Buck presented the medal to the family of Pvt. Robert T. Henry.
 
This was the second time the medal has been awarded on behalf of Henry. Henry first received the honor, posthumously, in 1945. It was first presented to his mother after he died in combat in December 1944.
 
Years later, the medal was lost in a house fire. Buck and the Henry family campaigned over the years to replace the medal. A week before Veterans Day, the family got their wish, allowing Buck to present the honor to Henry's living family members, which included his nieces and nephews.
 
In the short presentation at the Highlands Ranch branch of the Douglas County Library, Buck said it is important that the medal be restored to his family because Henry, knowing in 1944 that he would die, ran willingly into battle to save lives.
 
“He charged knowing he was going to die and went anyway,” Buck said. “The Medal of Honor is the highest medal for valor you can receive in combat.”
 
According to a biography provided at the ceremony, on Dec. 3, 1944, Henry single-handedly charged a German machine gun bunker that had pinned down his platoon.
 
According to eyewitness accounts, Henry, by his gallantry and intrepidity and disregard for his own life in the charge where he was killed, enabled his company to reach its objective, capturing this key defense and 70 German prisoners.
 
Earlier in the Veterans Day ceremony, Army Sgt. 1st Class James Copeland talked about the importance of thanking veterans for the service they have provided to this country.
 
Copeland, now an Army recruiter who has served for 21 years, said he knew at the age of 10 that he wanted to serve in the military. Copeland, serving 21 years, has been in combat and earned numerous honors for his service.
 
“I get the privilege of wearing this uniform every single day,” he said. “I love my job.”
 
While some may hate war, Copeland said wars have ended slavery, stopped genocides and slowed terrorist organizations.
 
“Whatever view of history you want to take, America would not be what it is without veterans,” Copeland said. “Plain and simple. We should thank veterans every single day.”
 
Also speaking to the full audience at the Douglas County Library was local Highlands Ranch veteran Sam Calkins.
 
The retired Army colonel used humor to talk about how he landed in the Army after watching the movie "Top Gun" and wanting to enter the Air Force.
 
No matter what branch of the military someone serves, Calkins said, they learn discipline, the value of teamwork and the need to use military training throughout life.
 
Calkins now works for Centennial Water, which provides water and wastewater services in Highlands Ranch.

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