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Who is Col. Day?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

(Photo)
Col. George E. "Bud" Day
SIKESTON -- Even if they don't know who he is, Col. George E. "Bud" Day's name should be familiar to area residents.

In August 2001, a new street intersecting with South Main named after Day was dedicated.

To those interested in veteran affairs, the name means a whole lot more than just a name on a street sign.

"Col. Day is the most decorated combat veteran in the United States," said Blair Moran, chaplain of the Sikeston American Legion Post 114.

"He's a true hero, a true patriot and one of the most courageous citizen soldiers this country has ever produced," said Scott Matthews, the Sikeston developer who named the street after Day.

Matthews said he first met the combat veteran in September 1993 when Day came here to be the grand marshal for the Cotton Carnival parade.

"The more we talked the more we found we had some common heritage in the U.S. Air Force," Matthews said. "When it came time to develop our new thoroughfare on the south side of town it seemed very logical for me to name it after the most decorated military man since General Douglas MacArthur."

Day has received some 70 decorations -- most of which are for actions in combat -- including the Medal of Honor, Air Force Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal for Valor with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star Medal for Merit, Purple Heart with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with nine Oak Leaf Clusters, National Order of Vietnam, Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm and the Prisoner of War Medal.

Moran noted Day's ordeal as a prisoners of war is chronicled in the autobiographical book "Duty, Honor, Country" and in "The American Patriot," a biography penned by Robert Coram.

Current U.S. Air Force pilots will also recognize Day's name as the U.S. Air Force named their survival school at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Wash., after Day in 1997.

In November, Day was interviewed by Tom Brokaw for an NBC Nightly News feature.

Day currently practices law with his firm, Day and Meade, in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.