Raleigh, N.C. — Five local World War I veterans were honored Saturday at the State Capitol nearly 100 years after serving our country.
The recognition ceremony was made possible by the Veterans' Legacy Foundation, a non-profit group who honors veterans who would not otherwise be recognized.
"In this case, the Purple Heart was not given out in World War I, it was given out in the beginning of World War II. It is retro active and people are learning about that. They should be honored," said John Elskamp, President of the Veterans' Foundation. "When the country is at war it's hard to get all the paperwork together and recognize everyone, so they fall through the cracks."
Nearly 100 years later, Private Walter Fitzgerald's family received a Purple Heart for his service.
"He spent a year and 3 months in the hospital after he was injured," said Curtis Fitzgerald.
Family members accepted the medals on behalf of their loved ones, including Corporal Joseph Greene's daughter from Apex.
"My father was a very humble person. Never spoke of his service to our country, but I knew he was wounded," said Jan Curry.
The Veterans' Legacy Foundation has awarded medals to 55 veterans across the country.
The group was established in 2010.