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Colorado Springs veteran wants to give region's war heroes their due

By: Tony Peck
January 15, 2018 Updated: January 15, 2018 at 1:35 pm
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photo - Keith LaMee, Jr. has the initials of World War II's Pfc. Floyd K. Lindstrom tattooed on his forearm and has made the life of the Colorado Springs Medal of Honor recipient a life-long project. LaMee is leading a campaign to build a memorial in Memorial Park to honor Lindstrom and the other two Medal of Honor recipients from El Paso County, Jesse Funk from World War I and Gerald Young from the Vietnam War.  LIndstrom was killed by a German counterattack Feb. 3, 1944.    (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Keith LaMee, Jr. has the initials of World War II's Pfc. Floyd K. Lindstrom tattooed on his forearm and has made the life of the Colorado Springs Medal of Honor recipient a life-long project. LaMee is leading a campaign to build a memorial in Memorial Park to honor Lindstrom and the other two Medal of Honor recipients from El Paso County, Jesse Funk from World War I and Gerald Young from the Vietnam War. LIndstrom was killed by a German counterattack Feb. 3, 1944. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock) 

One Colorado Springs veteran believes so fervently in keeping alive the memory of the region's Medal of Honor recipients that he has their initials tattooed on his body.

Now, Keith LaMee wants something bigger to honor the three who earned the nation's highest medal for combat valor.

His latest project, which he hopes to see dedicated May 27, is a 5-foot tall memorial to be placed in Memorial Park.

LaMee is raising cash for the project and finalizing its design. He has the location figured out.

"Here more civilians are apt to see it," LaMee said as he pointed at the proposed spot next to the park's War Memorial.

"We have three Medals of Honor."

Army Pfc. Jesse Funk earned his medal in France during World War I, where he braved enemy fire to save the lives of two wounded officers.

Army Pfc. Floyd Lindstrom earned his in Italy during World War II for charging a German machine gun position with a pistol before seizing the weapon and turning it on the enemy.

Air Force Lt. Col. Gerald Young earned his as a captain in Vietnam after his helicopter was shot down. He spent the next 17 hours evading the enemy and keeping a wounded comrade alive before they were rescued.

LaMee, an Army veteran, knows their citations by heart, and has spent most of the past decade learning who these men were before they went to war.

Now, he cruises around Colorado Springs on his Victory motorcycle, wearing an American Legion Riders leather vest.

"It all started with Floyd Lindstrom," LaMee said.

After discovering Lindstrom's story several years ago, LaMee realized that the Colorado Springs native had been all but forgotten.

"I found out that he lived in the Springs," LaMee said. "I started with almost nothing. Now I have this binder."

The binder is overflowing with news clippings, photographs, and even Lindstrom's high school report card.

LaMee led the effort to put Lindstrom's name on what is now the VA's Lindstrom Clinic off Fillmore Street. He also dedicated the American Legion Post 5 flagpole to him downtown.

He sees the Medal of Honor memorial as another step. "It is my way to tip my hat."

Even with all that he has done, he worries it is not enough. "Once they are no longer amongst the living, they tend to be forgotten," he said of veterans.

But he referred to a line of the American Legion Constitution preamble, "To preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in the great wars."

"Preserving means protecting, but like strawberry preserve," he said as he chuckled, "you have to spread it around."

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