2 Utah soldiers honored with Purple Hearts

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NORTHERN UTAH -- The many Memorial Day observances throughout the state Monday included two for recipients of one of the military's highest honors -- the Purple Heart.

Edna Barnes accepted one of the military's highest honors on behalf of her brother, a soldier who, like so many, never returned home.


With a prayer for the fallen, many Utahns honored America's soldiers Monday. Sen. Bob Bennett gave out one of the military's most respected awards. But the man receiving it wasn't there -- his sister was.

"I'm proud that he went and served, even though he didn't want to go and he didn't get to come home," Barnes said. "It was hard for us to not have him come home."

Barnes' brother, the late Lloyd Chipman, was the recipient of a posthumous Purple Heart. Barnes says her brother was unexpectedly drafted into World War II -- the war that eventually claimed his life.

She's not alone.

Tributes like this one dotted communities throughout the state. It gave loved ones the opportunity to mourn or reflect on the sacrifices service men and women make.

And while Barnes misses her brother, she's grateful for the opportunity to remember him.

The late Lloyd Chipman was the recipient of a posthumous Purple Heart in a ceremony on Memorial Day.
The late Lloyd Chipman was the recipient of a posthumous Purple Heart in a ceremony on Memorial Day.

"He would be honored, and I think he's looking down with my mother and ... just so happy," she said.

Barnes advises families of other service members to keep a record of their service and duties so generations to come can learn about their sacrifice.

Meanwhile, a Utah man has received two Purple Hearts for service during the Korean War.

Robert Wahlen received the awards Saturday at the George Wahlen Veterans Home in Ogden. Robert Wahlen is a cousin to the late George Wahlen.

Robert Wahlen was a Marine during the Korean War in the 1950s. He took shrapnel to the leg and later sustained injuries when a concussion grenade blasted him out of a foxhole.

His daughter, Debbie Williams, helped make sure he got the Purple Hearts by working with the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs.

One medal was pinned on Robert Wahlen's suit coat by U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. The other was presented by Mabel Wahlen, George Wahlen's widow.

Robert Wahlen said Saturday he's proud to have had the opportunity to serve his country and that he never thought much about not getting the medals sooner.


Story compiled with contributions from Jennifer Stagg and the Associated Press.

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