|By Bob Weaver (Nov. 2001)|
PART TWO: CALHOUN HERO BERNARD P. BELL
Sgt. Bernard Pius Bell
The audience in the East Room of the White House, with its great crystal chandeliers,
was hushed on Thursday, August 23, 1945, as Calhoun native thirty-three-year-old Sgt.
Bernard Pius Bell stepped forward to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, the
nation's highest award bestowed upon a soldier.
He was the first of twenty-eight men
from across America to rise and be greeted by President Harry S. Truman.
In the presence of the nation's foremost military and civil leaders and the tears of his
family members, the words of his heroic citation rang across the chamber as
President Truman placed the wide-blue ribbon and its medal over his head. Bernard
Pius Bell, by his uncommon deeds, took his place in the history of America, one of few
men to receive the Medal of Honor from West Virginia.
President Harry Truman bestows Congressional Medal Of Honor 1945
Bell's Medal of Honor on display at Mason County Library
Speaking of all the valiant men who fought through World War II, Bell simply said
"They did just as much as I out there on the battlefield." In addition to the
Congressional Medal of Honor, he was awarded almost every Army medal including
the Distinguished Service Cross to the French Croix de Guirre.
Some of Bell's many citations and awards
Sgt. Bell was born at Henrietta, Calhoun County in 1911, son of Perry Pius and Lora
Roberts Bell. He died in 1971 at the age of 69 and was buried in Arlington National
The Calhoun Commission will designated November 9, 2001 as "Bernard Pius Bell
Day," and Calhoun County will finally honor this man, who later became a long-time
resident of Pt. Pleasant.
The Grantsville bridge will be named in his honor in a special
ceremony. VFW Post Commander Paul Whytsell said he welcomes
all Calhoun County residents and veterans to attend the event.
The Calhoun County Committee on Aging will have their facility open for Bernard Pius
Bell Day, which will include their Second Annual Veteran's Day Celebration.
program will be held from 4-6 p.m., according to Director Mike Ritchie.
Day assembly will be held in the Calhoun Middle/High School auditorium on
Part Two of Four