WWII Merchant Marine receives honor 70 years overdue

April 11, 2014 (LOMBARD, Ill.)

Jim Pfafflin served in the Pacific in the Merchant Marine in World War II. Though not military, the men who guided supply ships were always at great risk.

"If they would have dropped a bomb, it would have gone right down our smokestack," said Jim Pfafflin, Merchant Mariner.

Jim came home from the war, raised a family, and over the years they figured "Dad" didn't get the recognition he deserved.

"They were not seen as vets when they got out of the war," said Jim Pfafflin, son.

"It became kind of an adventure to see what other information we could find out," said Ellen Pfafflin, daughter-in-law.

Daughter-in-law Ellen worked the internet which brings us to a celebration. Medals for a man who served, a recognition nearly seven decades later but still with powerful meaning.

"I know I did a job and I wasn't recognized for it, and I felt kind bad about it," said Jim Pfafflin.

On Friday, one man's service became a celebration for many: his fellow retirement home residents, local 5th graders who offered up some history, and his family, as an 88-year-old got a belated thanks.

"I feel now I was not a draft dodger like people called me, which I didn't feel at the time, but it really did make you feel different. (It hurt?) Yeah," said Jim Pfafflin.

A wound from long ago, never too late to be healed.

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