Local News

Clayton veteran receives decades-overdue bronze star

Posted May 30, 2011

— More than 60 years after serving his country in World War II, a Clayton man received a combat award this Memorial Day in a special ceremony attended by three generations of his family.

The United States Army on Monday awarded a bronze star to Joseph Shaughnessy, 97, in recognition of his “meritorious service” in the Philippines. He also received new medals for awards he received six decades ago but has lost over the years.

Shaughnessy said he's proud of the honors but feels undeserving.

"I don't think I deserve anything for following the guy in front of me," he said. "Individually, I don't understand how I got this recognition, but I'm enjoying it."

Bronze star recipient, Joseph Shaughnessy Clayton veteran receives decades-overdue bronze star

He was belatedly honored thanks to the Veteran's Legacy Foundation, a Moore County nonprofit that helps veterans and their families apply for military awards that were earned but never received.

For Shaughnessy's family, being able to gather around the veteran on Memorial Day is a special way to celebrate.

"Having the whole family here together is unbelievable," said granddaughter Deborah O'Neill.

O'Neill said her grandfather is very humble and has never shared his war experiences with the family.

"For us to be able to find out what he's done for our country is amazing, and it's an honor," she said.

She said the family is grateful to have a physical reminder of Shaughnessy's heroic legacy that they can pass down to future generations.


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  • beatompkins May 31, 2011

    Freedom is not free!!! Thanks to all who served our country and Thanks to the ones who will serve.
    My Husband Donald V. Tompkins served in WW2, Battle of the Bulge and other battles, he also received the Bronze Star Am so proud of him
    Bea Tompkins

  • chevybelair57sd May 31, 2011

    this medal and a buck will give him a cup of coffee. This nation is so remis in treating veterans right it's a shame it has to be trendy to even recognize them. nobody is talking about the governments new income levels to even get into the VA this year, it seems you have to be deliberately poor or sorry to get any benefits unless you're a politician.

  • mmtlash May 31, 2011

    great story!

  • working for deadbeats May 31, 2011

    It's about time. Thank you, sir.

  • RonnieR May 31, 2011

    jprime, in the instant case, every soldier who got a CIB or CMB got a BS for meritorious service. Due to war time shortages, the actual medals weren't made before a lot of the soldiers were discharged. So they were never issued. Many were not even aware that they were entitled to one.

  • lec0257 May 31, 2011

    These WWII veterans are our national treasure. Without their efforts many of us might not be here today in a free country. We are losing our national treasures daily, so if you see or know a veteran say thank you and listen to their stories.

  • cwood3 May 31, 2011

    God bless this man-and all vets who were honored yesterday.

  • sayitoutloud May 31, 2011

    Thank you for your service sir!

  • jprime May 31, 2011

    So how does it happen where a soldier earns an award but doesnt receive it?

  • deannaandgrace2 May 31, 2011

    This is awesome. Thank you for your service, Mr. Shaughnessy! You are a hero!