A Lincoln resident who served as a spy during World War II was honored with the Congressional Gold Medal on Tuesday. Patricia Warner, 98, was presented the award by US Representative Katherine Clark at a special ceremony that was held at the Lincoln Public Library.
“So often the stories of women in history go untold,” Clark said in a statement Tuesday. “It was an incredible honor to celebrate Patricia and her fearless patriotism at today’s ceremony. She represents the best of American values: bravery in the face of injustice and an unrelenting commitment to our country’s democratic cause.”
According to Clark’s office, Warner signed up to serve in the Office of Strategic Services — a government agency that was the precursor to the CIA — following her husband’s death in combat in October 1942. “My husband was killed in the war, and I wanted to do something useful,” Warner said at the ceremony.
Warner worked as a spy for two years during World War II, and traveled to New York, Washington, London, and Madrid as part of her service. “I didn’t feel I was in great danger every moment, but I knew the Germans had my number,” she said. She said that while she was working as a secretary in Spain, her real job was to communicate with the French underground to get downed American pilots out of Nazi-occupied territories, according to a press release from Clark’s office.
Clark’s office said that when the OSS was collectively honored with a Congressional Gold Medal in December 2016, Warner was unaware that she was eligible for the award.
With the help of Warner’s son, Clark secured the award and surprised her with it.
Warner gasped when Clark presented her the medal. “It’s beautiful,” she said. “It looks like it’s solid gold.
“It means a lot. I don’t think anybody’s thanked me, and I never thought I needed thanking,” she said. “But to see this now is very touching. And I’m very grateful.”