YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- Three years since becoming a Purple Heart Town, two parking signs in Yorktown honor local veterans wounded in military action.
The signs at the intersections, routes 202/118/35 and Commerce Street and Taconic State Parkway/Route 6, were unveiled in August. Veterans Eugene Lang, Neil Gross and Don King were in attendance.
For Lang and others, the Purple Heart didn't come for decades, he recounted in a Daily Voice interview.
"We got no respect at all when we came home," said Eugene Lang of Yorktown, an Army veteran and senior vice commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart's Westchester/Putnam chapter.
Lang was wounded in 1968 serving in the 1st Cavalry Division in the battle of Khe Sanh in Vietnam.
"I was with the Army, and we went to help the Marines. We were 5 kilometers west of Khe Sanh base and attacked by artillery fired from Laos," he said.
"I wasn’t going fast enough so (I was hit with) shrapnel all over my knee. I was taken out by helicopter on the DMZ where shrapnel was removed from my left knee, but not all of it," Lang continued.
He retells the the battle story to inspire other war heroes to come forward and make sure they've received recognition for their sacrifice.
Lang's came decades after his service. It wasn't until the 1990s that he began to tell his military story when he met a brigadier general at church who encouraged him to pursue his Purple Heart.
Ultimately, local media reported the story, and Sen. Chuck Schumer straightened out Lang's service record. Schumer delivered the Purple Heart to Lang personally.
But for 22 years, he hadn't spoken about being wounded in battle, said Lang.As a veteran returning home from his tour in Vietnam, greetings were hostile, Land recounted.
In the midst of the harsh welcome and his injuries overseas before returning to the United State, his paperwork was lost and Lang never received a Purple Heart for what happened.
"When I came back from Vietnam in 1969 after spending a year there, people would spit on you so I hid the fact for the longest time. In 1990, around the time of the first Iraqi war, I decided I wanted my Purple Heart," said Lang.
Click the Facebook page here for more information about the Military Order of the Purple Heart's Westchester/Putnam chapter.
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