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Widow receives medal

3/28/2014

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

ST. FRANCIS -- It was a long time coming, but Army Sgt. Jack Weinstein finally received his Medal of Honor.

Weinstein's widow, Nancy, accepted the nation's highest award for valor in a White House ceremony last week.

"It was like a dream, like it was unreal," she said. "When I was on stage, President Obama had his arm around me, and I didn't hear a word that was said. It was just dream-like."

Congress ordered re-examination of decorations that might have been withheld improperly from Latino or Jewish soldiers. Weinstein said her husband wasn't Jewish.

"His family is German heritage, but they've never been any Jewish that I am aware of," she said.

After reviewing Latino and Jewish recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second-highest award, the review was expanded to include other soldiers who received the award.

Weinstein said her husband received the DSC while he served in Korea. He also was told he had earned the Medal of Honor, but never received it.

"He never heard anything about the Medal of Honor," Weinstein said. "He didn't know what had happened."

So, for more than 60 years, they just let it go. Then, in May, Obama called Weinstein to inform her that her husband would receive the Medal of Honor. He was one of 24 soldiers honored last week. Weinstein's husband died in 2006.

"He really wasn't a man who showed his emotions a lot," Weinstein said. "He would have been very proud, of course."

Weinstein was honored for his actions on Oct. 19, 1951, near Kumson, Korea. Weinstein volunteered to cover the withdrawal of his platoon while it was under enemy attack. Weinstein killed six enemy combatants before running out of ammunition. He then used enemy grenades around him to keep the enemy forces back. Weinstein held his position until reinforcements arrived.

After returning from Korea, Weinstein got married. They settled in St. Francis and had five children, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

The medal is sitting in Weinstein's living room now.

"When I'm gone, it's going to be donated to the (county) museum here," she said.

After a whirlwind five days last week, Weinstein, 81, is home in St. Francis, trying to get her life back to normal. She will have to wait a little while longer.

"They're planning a big celebration for me in June," Weinstein said.