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In his eyes, the country should have declared him a hero decades ago for his bad aim.

“I bombed it twice and missed it both times,” the 92-year-old said with a chuckle.

The bridge was captured by U.S. forces and became a way to move American troops and supplies across the river.

Good natured about his experience as a young bomber, Mr. Kiefer spoke solemnly as he considered the war memorial Wednesday, packed with tourists and students as the sun shone.

“I didn’t expect it to be this way,” Mr. Kiefer said. “It brings back some memories. I didn’t think it’d affect me like this.”