Bulger's Beat: Korean War veteran presented with Purple Heart - WSMV Channel 4

Bulger's Beat: Korean War veteran presented with Purple Heart

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WARTRACE, TN (WSMV) -

A Bedford County man was presented with a Purple Heart Award on Monday for service to his country more than six decades ago.

Though the honor has been a long time coming, the wounds of war never expire.

Pvt. Earl Taylor said he never thought this day would come, but he's so happy it finally did.

"I've been trying to get my Purple Heart for 62 years. I didn't think I was gonna live to make it," Taylor said.

Taylor's life started in Wartrace, TN, and nearly ended in the Korean War during a midnight ambush.

"And they started shooting and throwing hand grenades and everything else," Taylor said.

The ceremony was meaningful for many people, perhaps most for his wife, Eleanor, who rose from her chair to hold her husband's hand.

"It was long overdue. You could see what it means to the family, they were kind of emotional. With his wife there, it choked us up at the same time," said Sgt. Michael Richert, with the Tennessee National Guard.

Taylor's decision to serve was completely his own. But when he tried to join, the Army initially said no.

"Said I was too light for my height," Taylor said.

A year later, the war started, and he tried again.

"Yeah, they took me this time. Didn't make no difference how light you was," he said, laughing.

Taylor said he planned to pin the Purple Heart medal on the Army uniform he still has.

"The coat, I can still get in it, but it's pretty tight," he said.

While everyone Monday was thanking Taylor for his service and sacrifice to his country, Taylor made a point to thank all of the soldiers and airmen of the National Guard who are serving today.

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