Army Medal Awarded to Vietnam Victim—46 Years Later!
METHUEN, Mass.—Better late than never.
That’s how John and Margaret Bedrosian view the coveted award that was presented posthumously to their son who was killed while serving in Vietnam on Nov. 14, 1969.
In what was an emotional moment for the family, the U.S. Army awarded the Medal of Liberty to David Bedrosian during a special exercise with many looking on.
The fact it was 46 years later only made it more emotional for Margaret Bedrosian, who was joined by members of her family at the ceremony. Her son was merely 19 when he died in a freak motor vehicle accident while serving as a specialist.
A monsoon had struck Quon Loi and Bedrosian had disembarked from a fork lift, only to be struck by his own vehicle as visibility had been impaired due to the torrential rain.
The funeral that followed will long be remembered as one of the biggest military gatherings Lawrence, Mass., has ever seen. The American flag that covered her son’s casket was folded by an honor guard and presented to Margaret at the gravesite.
Four years ago, the military finally caught up to the victim with a shrine inside the City Hall foyer, where others like him have been remembered for making the ultimate sacrifice.
And now, four years after that, comes the Medal of Liberty. To describe the Bedrosians as an ultimate military family would be putting it mildly. John served with the Armed Forces during World War II, while David’s grandfather was also a veteran.
“A lot of people go into Town Hall every day,” Margaret said. “They see my son’s picture and remember the cause he served. He died with a patriotic heart. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my son.”
The medal is given to an individual killed in action or in a designated area while serving in the line of duty.
“I still have his letters from Vietnam,” said David’s sister, Linda Buonanno, whose children also attended the ritual. “Words cannot express the gratitude I have for this moment, despite the decades that have passed. I wish the wars would stop so families everywhere can have their children back. No country is worth the lives that are being taken.”
As a young teenager growing up in the streets of nearby Lawrence, David Peter John Bedrosian was everyone’s best friend.
He helped out his peers whenever the going got tough, ran errands for the elderly, helped neighbors in distress, and befriended the nuns at a nearby convent.
Whenever the Sisters of Holy Rosary Church needed a helping hand bundling clothes and food for the indigent, David was at their beckoning call.
The Bedrosians were at work when news of their son’s death arrived. They rushed home to find an army chaplain at their door and feared the worse. The news came two months before David was scheduled for discharge. He had already sent some of his belongings home.
If you were to drive by Maple Street in Lawrence, you would see a street sign bearing David Bedrosian’s name. That’s where the family lived prior to their move to Methuen.
He served his Holy Cross Armenian Church as an acolyte, delivered newspapers, and enjoyed playing sports with his friends. Some of his best times were spent fishing with his dad.
In high school, he was recognized as a model student who yearned to become an architect in his professional life. He had planned to attend Wentworth Institute in Boston when the war was gaining force.
He put his education on hold and enlisted in the army before the possibility of being drafted. David wanted to serve America on his own terms.
Six months later, on Palm Sunday, he got shipped to Vietnam and was assigned to the infantry where he played a significant role of supplying weapons to the troops.
Now, the Bedrosians can take comfort in knowing that the military has given their son a long-awaited tribute and his rightful place of honor with other fallen personnel.
David’s name also appears on the Vietnam Wall of Honor with 58,000 other victims, together with another namesake—a lieutenant who was killed while serving with the U.S. Air Force. No relation, other than the Armenian connection.
“David’s alive in our hearts, never dead,” added Margaret. “Even the great grandchildren hear about him. In our mind, David has never left home.”
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Source: Armenian Weekly
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