CHICAGO (CBS) – They were wounded or injured in wars and conflicts ranging back to World War II, and on Friday more than a dozen west suburban veterans were honored for their service and their sacrifice.
It was a modest ceremony, but the honor was great: Silver Star Service banners presented to more than a dozen veterans.
The banners are meant to remind Americans of the sacrifices made for them by servicemen and women.
Louis Anderson, who was wounded by a grenade attack in Vietnam, is one of them. He says he moved by how the perception of military service has changed.
“When I came home it was one where it was booed or spit on or whatever the case might be,” Armstrong told CBS 2’s Mai Martinez. “I think people now realize what the veterans, to some degree, have gone through.”
Twin brothers Tom and Tony Bezouska were also honored. Both were wounded in the Korean War. Tom Bezouska says he hopes his banner will remind people of not only past sacrifices, but all those currently being made by U.S. troops around the world.
“The fact is they are away from home, they’re doing things they normally wouldn’t do, and they’re doing it for all the people at home,” he said.
Sgt. Kenneth Marinellie is one of them. He received a Purple Heart after being severely wounded by an IED in Afghanistan in 2009. He’s preparing to re-deploy, so his parents accepted his banner for him.
“I’m going to fly that proudly,” his mother, Sandy, said.
The veterans say receiving awards like the Silver Star Service banner is a great honor. But the greatest recognition they get often comes from strangers they meet on the street who simply thank them for their service.