Community turns out to pay tribute to vets

MALTA – It was a typical response.

“It means a lot to me,” Charles Smith said, humbly.

“This is the first time this has happened,” Don Mattson added.

Smith and Mattson were two of seven local veterans honored as part of the “Tribute to Malta’s World War II Veterans,” sponsored by the Malta Township Public Library’s Land and Building Committee on Saturday. The others were Yngve “Morry” Johnson, Bernard Parsley, Ivan Prall, Dorothy Willrette Stoddard and Robert Swanson.

“To a person, they were pleased and honored,” Del Sandberg said.

“It’s nice,” Prall said.

A photographer in the Pacific Theater during the war, Prall said he still has a bullet in his right knee.

“It passed through a Marine (before it hit me) so it was pretty well spent,” he said, adding the medic on duty was swamped with casualties and wasn’t able to take it out.

Following a reception, Saturday’s ceremony included a short program in which each of the local veterans’ accomplishments were read, followed by an auction of donated items. There was also a display of World War II memorabilia, including guns, rifles, photographs, flags and more.

“Hands down, you are the greatest generation,” Lt. Col. David Dosier, the main speaker, told the veterans. “We are all benefactors of the sacrifices you made...You established a legacy that continues today.”

Throughout the two-hour event, which was packed to overflowing, forcing some to stand outside, a number of those attending thanked the veterans for their service.

According to Carol Sandberg, the committee holds a special event once a year to remind the public of the library’s expansion, which was completed in 2007. The 2,500-square-foot expansion, she said, was built entirely by private funds and no tax money.

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