A daughter’s pride in her father and persistence to see him honored were realized Monday.
During a ceremony at Cumming City Hall, Johnson W. “Dub” Brown received eight medals for his military service in World War II.
Brown’s daughter, Melanie Curtis, had spent eight years appealing to various elected officials, from the president to Georgia governors, in an attempt to get her father’s actions recognized.
District 9 Rep. Tom Graves finally was able to secure the medals, ribbons and pins, presenting them to him Monday.
“This is an exciting moment for the family, but really for all of us,” Graves said. “These medals were rightfully earned years and years ago.”
Brown served in the U.S. Navy Reserves from 1943-45, where he saw combat during the invasion of France.
On June 6, 1944, at age 19, Brown was serving as a motor machinists’ mate first class, when his ship landed in an assault area in France.
After disembarking the troops on Omaha Beach, the ship suffered damage from enemy gunfire and was unable to retract from the beach.
Brown, now 87, was one of 10 men and three officers who remained onboard to repair the ship.
“He spent one full day on the ship getting it back to operational,” Graves said. “He is a great warrior for our country and these medals still carry the same weight as they did all those years ago.”
Among the honors Brown received were: the Navy Commendation Medal; World War II Victory Medal; American Campaign Medal; and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one bronze star.
He also received the Navy Occupation Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, and Honorable Discharge medal and lapel pin.
Brown, a former mayor of Chamblee and a Forsyth County resident since 1998, said little during the ceremony.
“Well, how about that?” he said after Graves presented the honors to him.
After the ceremony, Brown said the recognition “kind of took [him] by surprise.”
The father of Curtis and son Mark, who died three years ago, Brown also is a grandfather of five and great-grandfather of 11. He said he appreciated the crowd of about 100 people who attended the ceremony.
“It lets you know how many friends you have,” he said. “There were a lot of my neighbors from my old subdivision here, so that meant a lot to me.”
Curtis and Brown’s wife of 69 years, Doris, had more to say about the honors.
“We’re very grateful,” Doris Brown said. “We always felt Dub was very deserving, but there are so many who are.”
“Wow, you did it daddy,” Curtis told her father during the presentation.
Curtis said she did not hear much about her father’s service while growing up.
“These guys just didn’t talk about what they went through [in World War II],” she said. “But eight years ago, I found out a little more about the story and knew it was medal stuff.
“It’s been a long process and I understand why it’s a long process to get medals. It should be a hard process because if it were easy, they wouldn’t mean anything.”