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The Military Order of the Purple Heart

Patriots:  A heartwarming story of 28 families to receive the Purple Heart for their family member who died as a POW in World War II.  I had the pleasure of working with one of the families involved last year when they first started the process of obtaining the awards.

They died in prison camps in Germany, Japan and Korea.

Now, decades later, 28 New Hampshire men will each posthumously receive a Purple Heart, a prestigious military decoration.

The state’s four federal legislators announced Tuesday that family members of the World War II and Korean War veterans will soon receive the medals. Three Nashua natives and a Lyndeborough native are among those who will be recognized.

“It’s the one medal you don’t want to get. You either got a wound or got killed,” said Allan Gavan, a member of the New Hampshire Chapter of American Ex-Prisoners of War who helped secure the Purple Heart medals.

“But having made that sacrifice, whatever the right word is, it’s probably the most honorable medal because you’ve given everything,” said Gavan, himself a prisoner of war in World War II.

“To be prisoners of war, they died from starvation. They died from beatings. They died from disease. They died from beheading.”

Several of them died in the Bataan Death March, a 60-mile trek in which Japanese captors tortured American and Filipino POWs who collapsed or refused to walk after being denied food and water.

Read the full story

For information contact:
National Public Relations Director, John Bircher, 352-753-5535
Email: PublicRelations@Purpleheart.org
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