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TUESDAY, MAY 29, 2007
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Birmingham family finally receives veteran’s medals

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — Pvt. George M. Thornton earned eight medals during World War II, but received only one of them while he was alive and didn’t know about six of the others, including a Bronze Star.

More than 20 years after Thornton’s death, the medals finally arrived in the mail last Friday just in time for Memorial Day, said his son, Marvin Thornton.

They were presented to the late veteran’s three children Sunday at a ceremony at Alabama Veterans Memorial park.

“It is very heartwarming to me, because these are things daddy never knew he earned,” said Bette Lloyd, Thornton’s eldest daughter.

Attended by about 60 people, the ceremony was sponsored by the Alabama Veterans Memorial Foundation and the Vulcan District Boy Scouts.

It also recognized Alabama veterans who died in Afghanis-tan, Iraq and the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Two Eagle Scouts, including Thornton’s 18-year-old grandson, Adam Lloyd, stood on the steps of the memorial reading aloud 80 names.

Adam and his younger brother, Russell Lloyd, a Life Scout, presented their family with the medals.

“It was a real privilege to get to do that for my great-grandfather,” Adam Lloyd said.

“It really meant a lot to me to know that he was being recognized.”

Thornton, who moved his family from Birmingham to Homewood, was injured in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944 when shrapnel entered his back and exited through his stomach, Marvin Thornton said.

A friend dragged him out of the trenches and hid him in Germany’s Black Forest, he said.

He requested the medals before Christmas and said their arrival so close to Memorial Day was meaningful.

“I think daddy’s here somewhere, because there’s no such thing as coincidence,” he said.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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