Michigan Vietnam vet believed to be dead gets Purple Heart 47 years later

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Courtesy: Kevin Wolf/AP

DETROIT (AP) — A Vietnam War veteran from Michigan has been awarded a Purple Heart for injuries sustained 47 years ago at the request of a friend who thought he had died of the battle injuries.

The medal was awarded Sunday to Herman Johnson of Warren during a surprise ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The medal was awarded after Fred Rivera contacted U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., after learning Johnson hadn’t died.

The Detroit News reports Johnson was nearly moved to tears by the medal. He recalled being denied the decoration when he returned from Vietnam.

Rivera says he was so convinced Johnson had died in his arms that he kept a band from one of Johnson’s boots that he wore to remind him of his friend.

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