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Jun 19
NCNG Awards Bronze Star on 75th Anniversary of D-Day



Story by 1st Lt. Regina Corbin 

North Carolina National Guard


“Today I was honored to present the Bronze Star medal to a deserving Cpl. Denson who was in World War II,” said NCNG Army Col. Merriam Hayden.”Whats most special about today is that it’s the 75th anniversary of D-Day and these men are becoming fewer and fewer. It was a wonderful day.”

Ralph Denson was drafted at the age of 18 while working on his family’s farm. He followed in the footsteps of his three brothers who were already fighting, despite having merit to request an exemption. It was a miracle they all survived. However, he said the ghosts of war were too hard for them to speak of after.

“If you've turned on the news at all, you’ve seen the celebrations across the world celebrating D-Day, “ said Hayden. “We also have our North Carolina National Guard 30th Infantry Division in France commemorating the 75th anniversary and giving recognition to the great generation.”

Denson was on the front lines of the Battle of the Buldge and spoke with emotion about his two close friends that died within 10 minutes of each-other. “You think about the ones who didn’t make it,” Denson said. “They are the heroes, really.”

The names of 39 North Carolinians who died and sacrificed their lives in the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944, were read out-loud as each name was revered with the ringing of a bell, followed by a bugle performance of taps, a rifle salute and a wreath laying at the old capitol World War II memorial steps here.

French diplomat, Louis de Corail, also awarded the the French Legion of Honor Award to World War II veteran James Stevenson in the same ceremony.

The NCNG military band performed prelude and recessional music on the lawn of old capitol building grounds. The NCNG led the Senate and House 75th Anniversary of D-Day Special Sessions with the Color Guard, Pledge of Allegiance, National Anthem, and Chaplain prayer.


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