WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – World War II veteran Raymond Miller remembers the day like it was yesterday.
“It was November 5, 1944,” said Miller.
Miller was a first lieutenant in the United States Air Force, serving a good portion of his time in Europe. It was there when Miller saw his first enemy flak, something that still sticks out in his memory.
“I saw one burst outside and the next one came through our window and hit me in the chest and my oxygen was gone and I was losing consciousness,” said Miller.
He was taken to the hospital where he remained for six weeks before returning to the line of duty. It wasn’t until he was discharged and returned to America that he even learned he had been awarded the Purple Heart.
“It was a beautiful medal, and I treasure it,” said Miller.
That same exact feeling came flooding back Thursday. Miller and four other Purple Heart recipients at the Indiana Veterans’ Home were presented with an honorary plaque for their accomplishments.
“We’re very thankful that they’re here and that we were able to celebrate again,” said Indiana Veterans’ Home Superintendent Linda Sharp. “They got their initial award at the time of their injury, but it’s nice that they can still be recognized for the sacrifices that they made.”
Miller said he plans to hang the plaque in his room. While he said he feels honored to receive the plaque, he said his biggest honor was just being able to serve our country.
“I’m in my latter days, but I’ve been given the chance to serve while I’m able to,” said Miller. “It’s a blessing beyond all measure.”
The Military Order of the Purple Hearts organized Thursday’s ceremony. It’s something the Indiana Veterans’ Home hopes to continue in the future.