Rachel’s Finds: Kenneth Bupp Purple Heart

With Veterans Day, I thought it would be timely to share the story of a Sturgis young man who was awarded a Purple Heart posthumously.

The story unfolded from one of the first boxes I was given to sort and catalog contained items belonging to Kenneth Bupp. There were letters from the U.S. Army to his mother, photographs, and a box of medals, one being a Purple Heart.

Reading through the letters, I learned that at age 19, Kenneth enlisted to the Army. He was sent to North Africa to fight with the Allies against Germany.

Kenneth’s last letter to his family was dated January 6, 1944 after his unit moved from fighting in North Africa to Italy. The next day, on January 7, 1944, a German artillery shell exploded close to where he was standing. Shrapnel to his chest killed Kenneth instantly.

Finally, four years later, in August 1948, his body was exhumed from a military cemetery in Marzanello Nuovo, Italy where he and others were buried quickly, without ceremony. It arrived in Sturgis in October for a proper burial.

Kenneth Bupp’s Purple Heart will remain in the museum, preserved with the other World War II memorabilia for future generations to learn about and remember the men and women who died so we could be free.

Rachel Boland is a dedicated museum volunteer who loves the mystery of history