Sixty years have passed since Bruce Ackerman first joined the American Legion Post 24, and to honor that membership the American Legion presented him with a certificate and a pin during their meeting on Tuesday at the VFW in Fairbury.
Ackerman explained that his service in the armed forces began during the Korean War, being drafted to serve during the conflict.
“As soon as I was eligible, which was as soon as we graduated high school, my friends were drafted one by one,” said Ackerman. “I joined up with the Navy, and immediately I was sent to boot camp. There were five guys from Fairbury who went at the same time.”
After boot camp, Ackerman became a medic, delivering babies. When the time came to serve, there was a mix up, and he was able to stay off of the front lines
“Can you imagine?” Ackerman asked. “People would always ask me what I did, and it was kind of tough to tell them that I delivered babies. One day, they called me into the office, and I come to find out that another fellow by the name of Ackman signed up for service.”
Ackerman spent time in California and on a destroyer. He explained that he only saw some action during a case of friendly fire.
Bruce Junker presented the award to Ackerman, noting that it is a great honor to be able to present the award to Ackerman for his years of membership.
“It’s not often that you get to make a presentation like this,” said Junker. “It’s really great. We want to show our grateful appreciation for faithful and dedicated allegiance to the ideals of the American Legion.”
Ackerman shared his gratitude for the certificate and the pin during their meeting. He emphasized that it is an honor to able to receive the award, remembering his friends who sacrificed everything in battle.
“I have a lot of good friends and buddies who aren’t here anymore,” Ackerman said. “They should be up here with me, receiving one of these awards too. They didn’t quite make it, but I’ll continue to carry on with the organization and to continue growing.”