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Years later, veterans awarded medals

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - Two veterans were awarded long overdue medals for bravery on the battlefield.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – Decades after their honorable discharges, two Utah veterans were awarded medals for bravery on the battlefield.

Bruce Hall is one of the few World War II veterans still alive. He served in the Army and fought in the Philippines.
And Phillip Geary is a Vietnam vet who was an infantryman for the Army.
On the eve of the Fourth of July, Hall and Geary were given their medals from an Army that bungled the paperwork.

“I was honored to serve my country,” Hall said after getting his Bronze Star. “Today, I’m mainly thankful to be alive, to make it through.”

A staff member of Senator Orrin Hatch says the Army awarded Hall his medals but never presented them to him.

As for Geary the military rejected his application in 2007. But with the help of Senator Hatch that decision was overturned.

“Today some 40 years later it is such an honor to recognize the service and to pay tribute to this dedicated American,” said the senator during a medals ceremony.

Among the medals awarded to Geary were the Purple Heart and the Army Commendation Medal.

“It releases a lot of ghosts in my head,” Geary said afterwards. “I mean there's a lot of baggage I can get rid of now. I'm just very grateful.”

Watching was Geary's near 90-year old mother.

"It means a lot to me,” says Genevieve Geary whose husband served in World War II. “He suffered a lot of years with a lot the memories that he went through. I think this will help.”

And for teen-age soldier turned veteran the medals renewed Geary’s faith in the military.

“It restored my confidence in the military that they'll try their best to make the wrong right,” Geary says.
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