It took 71 years, but on Monday a Johnston County World War II veteran finally got the recognition he deserved.
During the Memorial Day Service at the Johnston County Courthouse in Smithfield, Edward M. Kirks received three long-overdue medals.
Kirks was one of 4 brothers from the Selma area who served in World War II. All returned home alive, however, Kirks was injured in action.
Between 1944 and 1945 he fought in the US Army and saw heavy combat action during the Rhineland and Ardennes campaigns in Germany.
Due to his injuries, Kirks was sent back home and never received the Bronze Star, American Campaign, and World War II Victory medals.
Over the past few months his son, Chris Kirks, had been working with US Senator Richard Burr’s office to obtain the medals. Senator Burr contacted the Department of Defense and just a few days ago the medals were mailed to Chris.
Chris wanted the presentation to his father to be more than a package in the mail, according to Robert Boyette Johnston County Veterans Service Director.
Edward Kirks grandson, Travis, is a veteran in the 10th Mountain Division based in Fort Drum, New York. The Army unit just returned from Afghanistan. Travis drove from Texas to Smithfield to make the surprise presentation to his grandfather during the Memorial Day Ceremony.
Kirks received a standing ovation from the crowd as his grandson presented him with the three medals that were 71 years past due. Kirks was one of only two World War II Veterans present for Monday’sceremonies.
He and his wife now live in Cary.