Harper honors WWII veteran and student Bernie Bluestein

Bernie Bluestein Celebration Rick Beyer Keith Bluestein Avis Proctor Pat Stack Jason PeotHarper College celebrated World War II veteran and longtime Harper student Bernie Bluestein on Saturday, July 16. Bluestein and his fellow veterans in the Ghost Army – which employed tactics such as inflatable tanks, sound effects, radio trickery and impersonation to deceive the enemy about the strength and location of American troops – were recently awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by both houses of the U.S. Congress and President Biden.

At the campus event, Bluestein, 98, was honored for this achievement, his service, and his 33 years as a student at Harper. Rick Beyer, president of the Ghost Army Legacy Project, hosted the event and provided background on the U.S. Army’s 23rd Headquarters Special Troops’ accomplishments. It is estimated that the efforts of 1,100 enlisted men saved the lives of between 15,000 and 30,000 U.S. troops. Their work wasn’t declassified until 1996.

Others on hand to celebrate Bluestein included U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Yasmeen Bankole from the office of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, and Bernie’s son Keith Bluestein, who read a letter of commendation from U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth. Dr. Avis Proctor, Harper College president; Pat Stack, chair of the Harper Board of Trustees; and Professor Jason Peot spoke about Bluestein’s 32 years as a Harper art student. Peot also announced that Harper’s sculpture classroom will now be known as the Bernie Bluestein Sculpture Studio.

Bluestein, who will turn 99 next month, is set to return to Harper as a sculpture student in the fall. View photos from the event below.

 

President Joe Biden Letter Bernie Bluestein Congressional Gold Medal Event

Bernie Bluestein was presented with a letter of gratitude from President Joe Biden.

Bernie Bluestein Congressional Gold Medal Event Rick Beyer Ghost Army Legacy Project

Rick Beyer, president of the Ghost Army Legacy Project, detailed the importance of the Congressional Gold Medal and the accomplishments of Bernie Bluestein and the Ghost Army.

Bernie Bluestein Congressional Gold Medal Event Dr. Avis Proctor Harper President

Harper College President Avis Proctor spoke about Bernie Bluestein's 32 years as a Harper art student.

Bernie Bluestein Congressional Gold Medal Event Pat Stack Harper College Board of Trustees Chair

Pat Stack, chair of the Harper College Board of Trustees, presented Bernie Bluestein with an official resolution honoring his service as part of the Ghost Army.

Bernie Bluestein Congressional Gold Medal Event U.S. Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) celebrated Bernie Bluestein's legacy of service during World War II.

Bernie Bluestein Congressional Gold Medal Event Yasmeen Bankole Sen. Dick Durbin

Yasmeen Bankole from the office of Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) read a letter of commendation from the senator.

Bernie Bluestein Congressional Gold Medal Event Keith Bluestein

Bernie Bluestein's son Keith read a letter of commendation from Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

Bernie Bluestein Congressional Gold Medal Event - Madeline Christianson Ghost Army Family Ambassador

Ghost Army Family Ambassador Madeline Christianson presented Bernie Bluestein with letters from those who sponsored the Ghost Army's Congressional Gold Medal..

Bernie Bluestein Congressional Gold Medal Event Jason Peot Harper Professor

Harper Professor Jason Peot presented Bernie Bluestein with the sign for the newly named Bernie Bluestein Sculpture Studio.

Bernie Bluestein Congressional Gold Medal Event Reception Book Kids

A reception ended the celebration, with Bernie Bluestein receiving visitors such as these boys who asked him to sign their Ghost Army book.

Last Updated: 7/21/22