NEW HAVEN — Two New Haven brothers who were held as prisoners of war during World War II were honored posthumously Saturday when a bridge was named in their memory.
The Layne Street Bridge on Old Route 33 in New Haven was renamed the Ord Brothers Memorial Bridge in honor of Charles Richard “Dick” Ord and Milton “Mit” Ord.
The ceremony was attended by Dick Ord’s three children, Dickie Ord, Bonnie Smith and Glenndalyn Fradd, as well as a host of other relatives and friends. Speaking were Delegates Scott Cadle and Jim Butler, who were instrumental in completing the project, and Ray Varian, member of the Stewart-Johnson V.F.W. Post 9926 of Mason and State Assistant P.O.W. Chairman.
Butler told the crowd, “It is important to remember our history.” He read the citation from the West Virginia Legislature that officially renamed the bridge.
Cadle stated they were there because of the service the Ord brothers did for us all.
“They volunteered their service,” Cadle said, speaking of the fact that both men enlisted in the Army as opposed to being drafted. “As prisoners of war, they were served a cup of soup a day.”
Cadle told of talking to Dick Ord about his time as a prisoner.
“Dick said there was a building where he was being held that had a barrel of salt in it,” he said. “Dick said he remembered reading in the Bible about salt losing its savour. Dick said that salt had no flavor but they ate it to have something in their mouths.”
Cadle concluded by saying he felt there are not enough bridges and roads in the state to name after the many veterans who served our country.
Following the ceremony, a gun salute was given by the 130th Airlift Wing of Charleston, including Chief Master Sgt. Chris Butler of Glenwood; Master Sgt. Michael Pritt of Elkview; Airman First Class Brad Morris of St. Albans; and Senior Airman Travis Ferrell of Summersville. Chase Ord, grandson of Dick Ord, unveiled the signs signifying the new name of the bridge.
All of Dick Ord’s children were very proud of their dad’s and uncle’s service, and pleased by Saturday’s ceremony.
“This is a great honor for dad and Uncle Mit,” Dickie Ord stated. “It shows the community is very grateful for all the veterans who gave their service in all wars.”
Dickie’s sister Bonnie agreed. “Dad would be so proud,” she said. “He was really proud of his country.”
“It makes me proud of the service dad and my uncle gave to the country,” said Dick’s daughter Glenndalyn. “He would be very happy.”
She concluded, “Young kids don’t appreciate what they went through. Someone told me ‘freedom is not free’ and it isn’t.”
The Ord brothers had a unique story in that they joined the service at different times and were captured in different places - Dick in Germany during the Battle of the Bulge and Mit in Africa. They were held in different P.O.W. camps. The brothers were liberated by different countries - Dick by the U.S. troops and Mit by the Russians. Yet three days later the two found each other in the same camp, awaiting a trip to France that would eventually return them to the United States.
Dick and Mit remained together until they reached New Haven. Dick went on to finish his service in Arkansas. He attended college and later served as president of Mason County Bank for many years. Dick died in 2013. Mit re-enlisted in the Army and died in the 1970s.