Local vet receives Purple Heart

February 5, 2010 9:37:14 PM PST
A decorated Houston soldier who survived the Battle of the Bulge in World War II is now receiving more recognition - a Purple Heart with three oak clusters. He was wounded four times and held by Nazis, but his fight to set things right isn't over. "He is proof that they are truly the greatest generation," said Congressman Ted Poe, who presented Power with the medals on Friday.

It's a day that Harold Power has waited years for - recognition for wounds suffered in World War II.

"It overwhelmed me," said Power.

Power was just a teenager when he was put in the middle of the Battle of the Bulge.

"You're fighting with a bayonet at the end of your rifle against tanks, mortar fire, machine guns," Power said.

His division was tasked with holding a 25-mile line against the Germans when he was wounded by mortar rounds and a sniper's bullet. He was later a prisoner of war before escaping.

However, after his service, Power's records were lost, burned in a fire at a military archive facility in 1973. Since then, Power has fought to prove what happened to him.

"You have to rebuild your Army file from scratch, and you have to document things," Power said.

A few months ago, Power found a critical document at a VA Hospital in New York showing he suffered injuries in the war. Through it all, he's remained humble, but his family isn't surprised he didn't stop fighting.

"Persistence and perseverance, and that's what got him through the war," said daughter Elise Power.

Poe added, "He escaped from the Germans and it's only right to make sure that he is recognized."

Power received four Purple Hearts Friday, but he isn't forgetting the men who fought alongside him.

"People who get that flag, these medals, aren't here. I'm here. Thank you," said Power.

Under military rules, without the records, eyewitnesses or other documentation are needed to prove when the injuries happened. Power is now working to prove that he should receive a fifth Purple Heart.