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Lilburn man presented with medals at memorial

Photo by Tori Boone

Photo by Tori Boone

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A Lilburn resident was presented a Bronze Star medal and a Purple Heart on Monday.

Arthur Ivy, who served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War, was presented the long overdue medals by Gen. James W. Nuttall, deputy commanding general of the First Army, during a Memorial Day ceremony at the Gwinnett Fallen Heroes Memorial.

When Ivy was honorably discharged from the Army following his service, his discharge documentation failed to include orders for the medals he earned Feb. 7, 1968. Ivy was serving as a rifleman on a patrol in Vietnam when it was ambushed. When firing ceased, he emerged from his concealed position to search through the casualties. Despite being wounded by a grenade thrown at him by the enemy, Ivy completed a search of the area and returned to his position with several captured weapons.

More than 42 years later, after he contacted the office of Rep. John Linder, Ivy's discharge documentation was appropriately annotated and he received recognition long overdue.

The Bronze Star with Valor medal, the fourth highest military award for bravery, heroism or meritorious service, was presented to Ivy for his heroic actions; the Purple Heart acknowledged the wounds he suffered in combat.

As family and strangers gathered around Ivy to congratulate and thank him following Monday's service, his attention turned to the Fallen Heroes Memorial, where the names of Gwinnett County residents who have died in military service are engraved in granite markers.

"A lot of people don't appreciate it," he said, "the names on that wall."

That wasn't the case for those who gathered, some standing in the rain, for Monday's ceremony.

Keynote speaker Gen. James W. Nuttall, deputy commanding general of the First Army, said of those who serve in the military, "They swear an oath of allegiance to the Constitution, they go where they are sent and they do what their country and their president ask them to do, common men and women doing uncommon things."

Nuttall's appreciation for those who have died in military service extended to their families as well.

"They may not carry a rifle on their shoulder, but they have carried the weight of worry and tragically, when a member falls in combat, it's the family that suffers most," he said. "So as we remember and honor our fallen veterans it's only right that we honor the courage and the sacrifices of the families of the fallen."