The family of Private Patrick O’Brien, an Irish-born American soldier killed during World War I, was presented last week with two service medals, including a Purple Heart, on the fallen soldier’s behalf.
O’Brien was born in 1896 in Co. Kerry, Ireland and moved to the U.S. in 1914. He fought in the Army with the Company M, Third Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, American Expeditionary Forces during World I in France, NBC Connecticut reports.
O’Brien was wounded on Oct. 1, 1918 and earned a Purple Heart, returning to his unit after he was treated for injuries. He was killed in action on Oct. 6, 1918.
Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney (D-2) presented the medals——the Purple Heart and the World War I Victory Medal with France Service Clasp, and the Meuse-Argonne Battle Clasp and St. Miheiel Battle Clasp——to O’Brien’s niece, Mary Knapp, on May 11. Knapp herself is a veteran who served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. She is also on Congressman Courtney’s Enfield Veterans Advisory Board.
“I am honored to present these World War I service medals to Private O’Brien’s survivors. The commitment to serve our nation is evident throughout the family lineage that Mary Knapp represents here today, and these medals will be a significant contribution to their family history for generations to come,” Courtney said in a statement.
“Though the last U.S. veterans of World War I have passed, stories like that of Patrick O’Brien, who fought and died for our country just a few years after he arrived on its shores, are kept alive through family members like Mary.”