Leonard Goldman doesn’t remember whether he had his service medals with him when he got off the subway train in New York after coming home from deployment with the Army, and to this day he doesn’t know where they are.
They were misplaced some time ago.
The suburban Boynton Beach resident is 90 now and wants to make sure he’s given what he deserves so one day he can pass them on to his two sons. He contacted U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel for help and on Monday she sat in Goldman’s home at his dining room table and handed him four medals.
“I’m proud to have them. My sons eventually will inherit them as a memory of myself. It’s very important, what they call a legacy,” Goldman said.
- The World War II Victory Medal, given to those who served in the armed forces between December 1941 and December 1946.
- The Army of Occupation Medal, presented to those who performed occupation service in either Germany, Italy, Austria or Japan after World War II.
- The Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII, awarded to service members who were discharged under honorable conditions.
- The Marksman Badge with Rifle Bar, earned by soldiers who qualify with a rifle during training.
“Service to your country becomes part of you,” said Frankel, the mother of a Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. “You think about what you want to leave your children; it’s not just your wealth. This is something far more important.” After he was drafted at 18, Goldman was deployed to Korea and was in the Army for about 15 months.
“To me, I wasn’t a hero or anything,” Goldman said.
But his family disagrees.
“I’m proud of him,” said Goldman’s wife, Fran.
The two will celebrate their 65th anniversary in December.
“This is a little bit overwhelming,” she said.
Her husband answered: “I’m looking to hide someplace.”
Goldman called Frankel after he heard from someone in New York who went through a similar situation. Frankel’s office called Goldman back and offered to help. Goldman’s wife wrote Frankel, a former mayor of West Palm, a long letter telling her about themselves.
“I feel like something that was lost, I found,” Goldman said. “I don’t remember if I ever saw them. I don’t remember if it was on my uniform when I came out of the subway and walked to my house.”
Goldman said he doesn’t have his uniform either.
When first asked what he planned to do with the medals now, Goldman said he’d put them away in a safe place.
His son, Lenny Goldman, a Wellington resident, recommended his father display them.
“OK. Maybe I’ll display them,” Goldman shrugged. “I don’t really know what to say. This is all overwhelming to me. I didn’t expect this. I expected to get them in the mail. It’s an honor to be presented with them in person.”