Spokane veterans observe Purple Heart Day with barbecue - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane veterans observe Purple Heart Day with barbecue

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

It’s Purple Heart Day and those in Spokane are honoring our nation’s veterans with a yearly tradition – a barbecue.

What ties all these folks together is a Purple Heart medal.

“December 28 1966, I got shot in the head by a sniper. The bullet hit me right here,” says Randy Howard. “It knocked me on my butt, but then he tried to shoot me again and I saw the muzzle flash and I got him.”

That was Randy Howard's first Purple Heart. He has five in total after he served in Vietnam, and still has the scars to show.

But like most Vietnam vets, he didn’t exactly get a hero’s welcome when he came back.

“They threw eggs and spit at me. Standing on the corner. So it wasn't pretty,” he says.

That's why Purple Heart Day is more than just a gathering of friends.

“It’s to let I'd say the American public know who we are and what we did. So they understand better that we, we're not a bunch of baby killers or warmongers. We fought. We had to,” Howard says.

It's a chance give these heroes recognition for their service.

“It’s a Purple Heart that nobody wants but it's the most beautiful medal we have besides the Medal of Honor. It means a lot,” Howard says.

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