Kilgore Man Gets Purple Heart After 60 Years - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/3/05-Longview

Kilgore Man Gets Purple Heart After 60 Years

A Kilgore man has received his World War Two medals and purple heart after 61 years.
80-year-old Ray Smith of Kilgore usually doesn't get too excited over Independence Day.

"July the fourth is really just another day when you get to my age, hoping for July 5th," Smith says.

But this fourth is different, 61 years ago 19-year-old private Smith was part of the 29th infantry division that landed in the first wave at Omaha Beach, Normandy. It was June 6th 1944, D-day. Out of 128 men only Smith and one other man hit the beach alive.

"There was 128 on that boat , 8 of us got there, and two of us were still running," he says.

He was wounded twice but after being discharged his service medals and purple heart were lost. "I never ever expected to see them again".

His wife, working through senator John Cornyn's office, arranged to have the medals replaced. On Tuesday Smith was awarded his purple heart and five other service medals.

"It makes me very happy for him, that he can leave something to his nieces and nephews. This with be one fourth that we'll remember for many a year," says Geneva, Smith's wife of 59 years.

He was never bitter about the wait, and true to his generations courage, he always knew it would work out. "Don't ever give up on anything," he says.

Smith is one of five brothers that all fought in World War Two, and returned home safely.

Bob Hallmark reporting, bhallmark@kltv.com

  • NewsMore>>

  • Shelter cares for pregnant homeless people

    Shelter cares for pregnant homeless people

    Sunday, December 17 2017 11:48 PM EST2017-12-18 04:48:40 GMT
    One East Texas shelter has seen a unique need for one area of the homeless- expecting mothers. Longview's 'House of Hope' women’s shelter is trying to meet an unusual challenge. For over a decade the shelter has been a haven for homeless or abused women to take sanctuary, and beloved during the holiday season."When we come here we go to another place that is kind of home, go to another place of family, and it makes a really big difference in the lives of the ladies that a...More >>
    One East Texas shelter has seen a unique need for one area of the homeless- expecting mothers. Longview's 'House of Hope' women’s shelter is trying to meet an unusual challenge. For over a decade the shelter has been a haven for homeless or abused women to take sanctuary, and beloved during the holiday season."When we come here we go to another place that is kind of home, go to another place of family, and it makes a really big difference in the lives of the ladies that a...More >>
  • East Texas well represented in UIL State Football Championships

    East Texas well represented in UIL State Football Championships

    Sunday, December 17 2017 10:40 PM EST2017-12-18 03:40:00 GMT

    The UIL Football Championships will showcase some of the best football there is at the high school level. 24 teams will play over 4 days to claim state championships in 12 divisions through six classifications.

    More >>

    The UIL Football Championships will showcase some of the best football there is at the high school level. 24 teams will play over 4 days to claim state championships in 12 divisions through six classifications.

    More >>
  • Morris brings Arkansas recruiting trail to East Texas

    Morris brings Arkansas recruiting trail to East Texas

    Sunday, December 17 2017 10:01 PM EST2017-12-18 03:01:05 GMT

    It did not take long for East Texas to become a target for Arkansas Football under the new leadership of Edgewood's Chad Morris.

    More >>

    It did not take long for East Texas to become a target for Arkansas Football under the new leadership of Edgewood's Chad Morris.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly