An item from Nova Scotia's main daily newspaper: __________________________________________________________________
Monday, July 8, 2002 - The Halifax Herald Limited
U.S. honours Valley war hero Soldier's accomplishments mired for decades in military bureaucracy
By Bill Spurr / Military Reporter
Diabetes has taken his vision and shut down his kidneys, but war hero Harold McDonald still has his wit.
Mr. McDonald, who has lived in Beaconsfield, Annapolis County, since retiring almost 20 years ago, was recently awarded five medals by the U.S. government, including the Bronze Star.
His discharge papers at the conclusion of his service in the Second World War mention his role in capturing enemy positions, but Mr. McDonald, 78, is reluctant to talk about the specific act of heroism that earned him one of his country's highest awards.
"I was chasing anyone that was shooting at me," he said of the action that began with the invasion of Italy. "I don't brag about what happened. If I had any way to give them all back and forget it, I'd do it tomorrow."
Along with the Bronze Star, Mr. McDonald also got the Combat Infantry Badge, the Victory Medal, a Good Conduct Medal and a Campaign Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters.
He said there's a simple explanation of why it took almost 60 years for the U.S. government to get the medals to him.
"Because when they discharged you, they gave you what they wanted you to have and they kicked you out," he said. "They didn't take time to look into anything, so I never bothered, but my brother said, 'You're entitled to them and I'm going after them.' "
Francis McDonald, who lives in Massachusetts, spent three years wading through American bureaucracy before the medals were given to his brother earlier this year.
One of Harold McDonald's sons drove up from the States to present them to his father.
Mr. McDonald was born in P.E.I. but moved to the U.S. as a youngster and, along with three of his brothers, joined the military.
"But I was the only one getting shot at," he said.
He was in Europe from 1943 to 1946 with the 34th Infantry Division, fighting in the battles of Rome, Arno, Apennines and the Po Valley.
"I walked from southern Italy to Switzerland," he said. "Of course, lots of times you had to chase back and do it over again."
After his discharge, Mr. McDonald started a career in construction and contracting.
He and his wife, Irene, an Annapolis Valley native, moved to the Bridgetown area after retiring in 1983. They were married there in 1946, shortly after Mr. McDonald returned from the war.