The solemn ceremony began with patriotic music and salutes, setting the stage for the presentation of Purple Heart medals to four soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last two years.
The first called forward was Sgt. Brandon Tucker, a Clark High School graduate, who was in a convoy in November 2010 in Iraq, when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.
Tucker did not want to talk about that day, choosing instead to look to his future.
“I’m a medic. I love treating people and taking care of people,” Tucker said. “I plan to stay in until they kick me out.”
Specialist Benjamin Bozworth also had his Purple Heart awarded by the Dr. Joseph Westphal, under-secretary of the U.S. Army.
Bozworth was an infantryman with the Oklahoma National Guard conducting operations at a forward operating base in Afghanistan when he was wounded in January of last year.
Another specialist also with Oklahoma National Guard who was hurt in July of last year, Nicholas Luttrell was an infantryman in Afghanistan when his vehicle struck an IED.
PFC Cody Nusbaum rose from his wheelchair to accept his Purple Heart that he said, “It’s definitely a big honor.”
“It’s probably the biggest award I’ll ever have,” Nusbaum said.
Ambushed last August in Afghanistan, Nusbaum said he was shot 11 times.
Yet after a few more surgeries and then rehab, Nusbaum said not only will he be walking again, he'll be dancing with his girlfriend who was at his side when the Purple Heart was pinned on his uniform.