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More than 60 years later, Charles Lake gets a Bronze Star for Korean War service


Ogdensburg resident Charles E. Lake’s eyes were just beginning to glisten Thursday as he stood at the podium at City Hall.

Mr. Lake, 81, of 1022 Congress St., had just received the Bronze Star for meritorious service for his U.S. Army duties in the Korean War in 1950.

The medal, presented to Mr. Lake by U.S. Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, in a City Council chamber packed at midday with friends and family, came more than 62 years late because of lost service records and bureaucratic delays.

But the U.S. government’s tardiness didn’t seem to matter.

“It makes me excited,” Mr. Lake said. “I’m happy to be here.”

Mr. Owens, who was called on two years ago to help dismantle the bureaucratic boondoggle that Mr. Lake was encountering, thanked the veteran for his service to his country.

Not to mention his perseverance and patience.

“I think it’s a tremendous act on your part,” the congressman told Mr. Lake. “I thank you.”

Mr. Lake’s daughter, Kim A. Goulden, and her husband, Gary, traveled from their home in North Carolina to be at the ceremony that she worried would never take place.

“This is great,” Mrs. Goulden said, holding a bouquet of flowers that was presented to her. “We kind felt it wouldn’t happen.”

Donald F. Burns, of 1021 Congress St., was delighted for his friend and neighbor.

“I think it’s great,” Mr. Burns said. “It’s just too bad that it took so long to get the paperwork out. But sometimes, that’s normal.”

Mr. Lake was an infantryman in the Army 21st Regiment, 3rd Battalion, 24th Division, Company K. He suffered 120 shrapnel wounds and lost an eye in battle.

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