World War II didn’t end for one Marine veteran until Wednesday.
That’s when 91-year-old Indianapolis resident Junior Howell finally received his Purple Heart medal – 72 years to the day after he was wounded fighting the Japanese on Peleliu island, The Indianapolis Star Press reported.
“It’s the end of World War II for me,” Howell told reporters. “…Everything turned out fine. I had a good life.”
More than 100 spectators turned out to watch the honor bestowed on Howell. Some were strangers who made the trek merely to pay their respects.
“From one vet to another, I wanted to show my support,” ex-Army paratrooper Joe Litke told The Star Press.
Howell was wounded during a sniper attack on Sept. 21, 1944. But he was initially denied the Purple Heart because his medical history – which included phrases such as “wounded in action against organized enemy” – had been overlooked.
“That’s what’s crazy,” said Nate Jones, the current veterans affairs service officer for Delaware County. “Someone dropped the ball on him.”