Back in 1966, Sergeant Nicolas Ortiz was fighting in Vietnam when he was wounded in battle. It took 40 years, but Wednesday, the humble Marine finally received one of this nation's highest honors: the Purple Heart.
"It's a very significant day, a very special day," said Ortiz. "I'm very proud, but at the same time, I'm very humbled to be included in what I consider a hall of fame."
Congressman Chet Edwards (D-District 17) was on hand to present the medal to Ortiz at Bryan's American Legion Post 159. Ortiz received it after two separate incidents during the war where he was hit by shrapnel.
"It's a great honor to be able to present a medal earned by an American citizen in combat," Edwards said. "In this case, Mr. Ortiz earned this medal over 35 years ago, and what a privilege it is today for me to present this in the presence of his family."
While he said he was honored by the Purple Heart presentation, Ortiz said his family thought it was an amazing achievement.
"They're more excited about this than I am," Ortiz said. "They think it's well deserved. To me, it's very comforting to realize the way that they feel."
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