FAREWELL TO A SILVER STAR

FAREWELL TO A SILVER STAR

This is a rare picture. We are familiar with images of soldiers posing in uniforms and with comrades during training or at the front. But it is not often we get to see glimpses of the wrenching moment when a civilian says farewell to his family before reporting to duty. This is Bob Burns on the night of 7 December 1943. He has just cut short his pre-medical studies and is having a last chat with his anxious parents, Guy and Ada, in their home in Seattle before heading to Fort Lewis for training. Fearful of things to come, Bob’s parents made sure to have the intimate moment recorded. Bob eventually joined the 87th Infantry Division as a medic and had a rough time in the Bulge. “To say we were scared would be putting it mildly,” he later admitted to a local newspaperman. But, scared or not, in the savage fighting for Bonnerue, west of Bastogne, the 23-year-old Private First Class on 9 January 1945 earned a Silver Star when, under heavy artillery and machine-gun fire, he dashed into a burning building where stored ammunition was exploding and rescued several wounded comrades without regard for his own life. Bob Burns managed to survive the Bulge and the war. His parents were just happy to see him come home alive and well, with or without medal. (Photo courtesy Katherine Burns Vaughan.)

2019-01-28T23:48:04+00:00