LAKEWOOD, Colo. (AP/CBS4) – A World War II veteran from Arvada was surrounded by his four sons and several grandchildren and great grandchildren as he was awarded a Prisoner of War medal.
A cousin, Carol Dechant Young, says 91-year-old Frank Dechant only recently began to open up about being captured by the Nazis.
His wife, 85-year-old Edythe, says the experience took an emotional toll on her husband, who cried as relatives congratulated him Monday at a medal ceremony in the Lakewood offices of congressman Ed Perlmutter.
“When initially captured, he and several others were directed to dig graves in the frozen ground. They were under the impression that they were digging their own graves but were assigned to bury German soldiers,” said Perlmutter.
Perlmutter’s office says Dechant’s unit was captured in December 1944 during Belgium’s Battle of the Bulge. Liberation came in April 1945 after a two-month, forced march ahead of the Soviet advance into Germany.
Dechant had been awarded seven other medals including the Bronze Star. The POW Medal was created in 1985.
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