WATER VALLEY, Miss. (WTVA) -- James Earl Brown served in the U.S. Army. He would be sent to Vietnam as would others from this tiny Yalobusha County town.
The struggle to heal both mentally and physically from shrapnel wounds to the leg, hand and eye he would keep to himself until recently when he finally opened up to his wife.
"I was medevaced out of Vietnam straight from the field to the hospital in Saigon and from there to Japan and from there back to the States," Brown said.
"After 44 years, he finally opened up and said something, so that was a tearful moment also for us," Catherine Brown said.
The tears would flow again after a long struggle to set the record straight.
Brown was in line to receive a Purple Heart, but paperwork or a lack thereof got in the way.
"When I returned home, they sent my Purple Heart certificate through the mail. I wrote back for the medal, and they said they didn't have any proof of me being wounded," Brown added.
A family friend and fellow veteran called on U.S. Senator Thad Cochran's office for help, and it worked.
"It surprised me when they said that Senator Cochran was going to be coming up, so I thought that was real nice," Bobby Jeffcoat said.
It was nice for James Earl Brown who wears it not just for himself, but many others.
"(The) class president was killed in Vietnam, so it's kind of a memorial for him, and all my classmates are here, and a lot of my family members were here today," Brown added.