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Local WWII veteran gets Bronze Star

Posted August 21, 2011
Updated August 22, 2011

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— An 85-year-old World War II veteran from Selma finally received the Bronze Star Medal he earned more than six decades ago, thanks to a Moore County nonprofit.

The Veteran's Legacy Foundation helps veterans and their families apply for military awards that were earned but never received.  

In a ceremony on the steps of the Johnston County Courthouse Sunday, the foundation did just that for retired Army Staff Sgt. Willard B. Hinnant, who served in a division that was famous for the Battle of the Bulge and storming the beaches of Normandy.

Hinnant said the ceremony meant a lot to him.

"We haven't been forgotten; that's the big thing," he said.

The Veteran's Legacy Foundation has tracked down historical records to award long-overdue medals to more than 30 veterans. John Elskamp, the organization's leader, said the process never loses its excitement.

Willard B. Hinnant Selma vet awarded for WWII service decades late

"When it finally comes up to a ceremony like this, it makes it all worth it," he said.

20 Comments

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  • V-Vet 72-75 Aug 22, 4:50 p.m.

    I salute you Sgt Hinnant.

  • Trabman_san Aug 22, 2:45 p.m.

    No Sir....You are not forgotten! Thank YOU for your service!

  • b5fan Aug 22, 2:44 p.m.

    Nice to have positive, inspiring stories in the news!

  • aetius476 Aug 22, 2:09 p.m.

    Many of these men came back from WWII with PTSD but it was not recognized as such. They called it combat fatigue and shell shock, and it was generally not treated very effectively. Virtually no one got disability for such. Many suffered from their experience in silence for the rest of their lives (my father did).

    These guys are passing from the stage so fast now. I urge us all to remember and honor them now before it is too late.

    The D-Day memorial in Bedford, VA is a stirring monument to what these people accomplished. Unfortunately, the memorial is in poor financial condition and lacks support. Still worth a visit.

    God bless you men and women who served the free world!

  • flame19652001 Aug 22, 2:06 p.m.

    Congratulations SSgt Hinnant!! And Thank you for your sevice to this country.
    GOD bless you and all other service people that sacrifice a lot so that we all may be free.

  • I Carry even in Cary Aug 22, 1:27 p.m.

    Thank you for all your courage and service! Thank you to the Veteran's Legacy foundation! Thank you to the military and everyone who serves or served protecting this nation! May we honor you the way you have honored us!

  • dell27613 Aug 22, 12:49 p.m.

    Thank You SSgt for all you did to keep this wonderful country free. You are part of truly the "Greatest Generation"

  • msgtlen Aug 22, 12:32 p.m.

    Thank you SSGT from a retired AF MSgt in 88 after 26 years of service.

  • mmtlash Aug 22, 11:58 a.m.

    Great Story!

  • silverflash Aug 22, 11:56 a.m.

    Thanking God for soldiers/people like Ssgt Hinnant for putting their lives on the line to save our country and future. Without him and his peers, the Germans would have won and thing would have been terrible for the citizens of not only Europe, but the US as well.

    Thank you Ssgt Hinnant and all the soldiers who died on the battlefield and also that have fought and survived!

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