Sons Surprise WWII Veteran Dad With Purple Heart More Than 7 Decades After He Was Injured

Playing Sons Surprise WWII Vet Father With Purple Heart He Never Received

A World War II veteran has received a Purple Heart, more than seven decades after he was injured on the battlefield.

Samuel Lee Anderson, now 91, was just 19 when he served as a rifleman during the Battle of Iwo Jima, Japan in 1945. But 21 days into his service, he was injured by a landmine explosion.

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His sons only learned the details of his service when they discovered his discharge papers in his Los Angeles home a year ago.

Determined that their dad should receive the Purple Heart, which is bestowed on anyone wounded in battle, they planned a surprise.

Anderson was finishing up his cup of coffee at Henri's Coffee Shop in Canoga Park last Thursday when he was escorted into a back room. Stunned, the great-grandfather was presented the award in front of a sea of people.

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"I'm glad I got it," he told CBS LA following the ceremony. "I'm glad the boys got it and wanted it for me and they got it for me and they went through with it."

Marine Lt. Col. Aaron Doty read the medal citation and pinned the Purple Heart on Anderson’s T-shirt.

"I think it's a closure for the Purple Heart," Anderson said. "And I feel good about it."

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