- The Washington Times - Friday, March 25, 2005

ASSOCIATED PRESS

It’s 33 years overdue, but Stephen E. Lawrence finally has received the Army’s high recognition for his heroism in the late stages of the Vietnam War.

At a ceremony yesterday in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes, the Army presented Mr. Lawrence with the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest Army award for valor, for rescuing the crew of a downed helicopter while under heavy fire near the village of Tay Ninh on Oct. 5, 1971.

Mr. Lawrence was nominated for the award in May 1972, but by then he had returned to civilian life. He said Thursday the Army never notified him of the nomination.

Now living in Clearwater, Fla., Mr. Lawrence, 56, sounds more annoyed than bitter about the long delay.

“It would have been nice 33 years ago,” he said. “But it’s real nice today,” with the added benefit of having his family, including two children, present for the ceremony.

Now that he’s out of uniform, Mr. Lawrence thinks the award has lost just a little of its luster.

“I have a Distinguished Service Cross and nowhere to wear it,” he said. “But that’s just the way life is.”

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