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Hero’s return to Belgium for Idaho WW2 veteran

11:32 15/04/2013

World War Two veteran Melvin Lagoon, from Boise, Idaho, was given a hero’s welcome during an emotional return to Belgium, reports KTVB’s Justin Corr. “We took quite a beating in the Battle of the Bulge when we were there. We had a lot to be thankful for to be able to be alive. You can’t imagine what it’s like to live under those conditions,” said Lagoon. But he didn’t know how thankful the people of Belgium were until he took the trip of a lifetime. Two weeks ago, he returned for the first time since the war. “It brought back a lot of memories.” Lagoon was welcomed as a returning hero. The people here talked about how he and the 17th Airborne had preserved their way of life. “Everybody in town is giving you a salute, or congratulating you,” said Lagoon. “We never thought we’d ever get that recognition.” He was given medals at several ceremonies and was honoured in the Dead Man’s Ridge Walk, which recreates the same march he took in the war. At Luxembourg Cemetery, he laid 36 roses on graves of other soldiers in the 17th Airborne, including a commanding officer who was killed in combat the same day he learned his wife was pregnant with their daughter. That daughter is now 67 and wrote a letter to her father for one ceremony. “They had me read the letter the daughter had written to her dad, wishing that she could’ve had the chance to know him personally, and how much she missed him,” said Lagoon. “That was one of the best, most important parts for me.” He spent 12 days in Europe, traveling to France and Germany as well as Belgium with his daughters and son.

Written by The Bulletin