A World War II veteran finally receives the Purple Heart and Prisoner of War Medals he deserves, decades after the war’s end. At 18 years old, William "Willie" Kellerman fought in Europe as a member of the 79th Infantry Division and was captured by the Nazis. While being marched to a prison camp, Kellerman managed to escape and took refuge with the French Resistance before being reunited with his unit.
The following year, Kellerman was shot in the hand and leg by a German sniper and spent the remainder of the war in a field hospital in Czechoslovakia. And even though his POW status and injury in combat were well documented, an administrative oversight meant his sacrifices were never properly acknowledged.
Finally, 77 years after the end of WWII, Kellerman has been awarded the medals he deserves. At a ceremony at Fort Hamilton Community Club in Brooklyn, the 97-year-old veteran received a Purple Heart and Prisoner of War Medal. He was grateful to finally get the attention he deserved. “It makes up for all the years I didn’t get it,” he says. “I'm just overwhelmed by it."
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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