Seventy years ago Mr. and Mrs. Frank Gonzales, Sr. of Augusta were waiting for the bodies of two sons killed in separate battles in WWII, to return home for burial.  Lt. Frank Gonzales had been killed in August of 1944 and Sgt. Sus Gonzales, the older of the two, perished a few months later, also in the European Theater of Operations.
One of those sons, Sgt. Sus Gonzales was honored at a special program on Saturday at the Augusta National Guard Armory, hosted by the local VFW.  The building was packed with family, dignitaries, and community members.
Sgt. Gonzales, H. Company, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 82nd Airborne Division, received posthumously the British Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM), the second highest military medal that the British awarded in WWII, and the highest honor a non-subject of the crown could receive.
Sgt. Gonzales was credited with helping to rescue a British platoon that was pinned down by German forces.
Rob Hoskins, a nephew of Gonzales, who was curious about his uncles, discovered that  citation for the medal had been signed by British Field Marshall Bernard Law Montgomery, but the medal had not been presented to Sgt. Gonzales.  The British had authorized the document during the time he was in a field hospital dying of wounds.
A Brigadier General from the United Kingdom was present at Saturday’s ceremony and presented the Distinguished Conduct Medal to Gonzales’ 93-year-old sister, Esther Mayes, of Wichita.
Among the special guests were U.S. Congressman Ron Estes, Kansas Representative Kristey Williams, and Augusta Mayor Matt C. Childers.
Representative Williams remarks included, “Sgt. Gonzales was a member of the greatest generation...He attended Augusta High School and was an Oriole football player.  His parents endured the loss of their two sons.  Their sacrifice made the world a better  place...Today we honor the brave and celebrate their courage.  That is the purpose of today.”
Lt. Frank Gonzales was recently inducted into the 35th Infantry Division Hall of Fame in a special ceremony held in Kansas City.
Esther Mayes seemed overjoyed to accept the medal.
“This is a great thing.  I’m so very proud that my brothers and all the veterans are being honored.”