Sgt. Daniel Bivens remembers the terrifying day he sat down for lunch at his base in Mosul, Iraq in 2004. Bivens saw a panicked look on another soldier's face and had little time to react.
"All I saw was a bright flash, it was about 15 feet away. It blew me plum across the table. What happened was a suicide bomber had gotten in the base with the Iraqi National Guard. He had a suicide vest on," said Bivens.
Bivens had suffered from traumatic brain injury, it affects him years later, especially his short-term memory.
Bivens was recommended for the Purple Heart by his commanders. For three years he was turned down because the military struggled to define his injury.
"TBI was not recognized in 2009 as a combat injury. It wasn't until 2011 that the military recognized it as such," said Bivens.
Bivens told Channel 4 News he had just about given up receiving the Purple Heart. Then in 2012, Bivens said, the military award arrived at his house.
"I just about fell over when I saw it. My grandpa got all excited when he found out I got one. I'm the first one in our family to get one," said Bivens.
Bivens works at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Murfreesboro as a logistics technician, keeping track of supplies coming in and going out of the VA facility.
He also helps other veterans overcome their injuries, both physically and psychologically, because that's what the Purple Heart did for him.
"It finally closed that chapter that I had been trying to close," said Bivens.
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