TN soldiers awarded Purple Hearts at Fort Campbell - - Columbia, South Carolina

TN soldiers awarded Purple Hearts at Fort Campbell

Sgt. Richard McClain Sgt. Richard McClain
Sgt. Donnie Roach Sgt. Donnie Roach

A ceremony Tuesday at Fort Campbell was full of emotion and lifelong memories for two soldiers awarded with Purple Heart medals.

Their service to this country was more than 40 years apart, but their bravery and sacrifice will now be linked forever.

Sgt. Donnie Roach, of Sumner County, was injured while fighting in Vietnam in 1969, and Sgt. Richard McClain, of Stewart County, was injured three years ago in Iraq.

The emotion of war and injury does not fade over time. That clearly showed itself as the men had the opportunity to speak before friends and family at the home of the 101st Airborne Division.

"You have my sincere gratitude and appreciation for making this one of the best days of my life. I've always been proud to say I was a soldier, proud to say I was a Vietnam veteran," Roach said.

"This is not about me, because it's an honorable award. I dedicate this Purple Heart to my mother, who passed away in '07, right before I deployed to Iraq. It's for you. I love you, mom, and I love the 101st," McClain said.

It took more than 40 years for Roach to get his medal because, he said, it took lots of paperwork and eyewitness accounts to finally get past the military review.

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