Purple Heart is presented locally to Sabetha VFW, American Legion

Members of the Sabetha Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post No. 7285 were on hand on Monday, Jan. 27, to receive the Purple Heart of Private (PVT) Francis R. Long, who was killed in action in World War II.

This presentation was one of four in Kansas and Missouri over the course of three days by the Purple Hearts Reunited non-profit foundation. From Jan. 27 through Jan. 29, the Purple Heart Reunited foundation presented four purple heart medals from World War II and two Purple Heart medals from the Korean War era, as well as a set of World War II dog tags, uniform and burial flag and backpack.

PVT Francis Richard Long was born on Dec. 9, 1924, in Trenton, Mo., the only child of Francis Raymond “Ray” and Lela Wagner Long. Soon after his birth, Francis and his family moved to Sabetha, where he resided until drafted into the military. His father, Ray, was also a veteran, who served in World War I and was a member of the American Legion Post No. 126 in Sabetha until his death at age 95.

Francis enlisted in the U.S. Army on June 12, 1944. He was trained at Camp Hood, Texas, and Fort Ord, Calif., before being sent to the South Pacific on Dec. 12, 1944. Francis was a private, assigned to Company A, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. He was Killed in Action on March 2, 1945, on Lubang Island, Occidental Mindoro Province, Mimaropa, Philippines. On Oct. 17, 1948 — more than three years after his death — Francis’ graveside service took place back in the U.S. at the Sabetha Cemetery. His parents are buried next to him.

The Purple Heart Certificate was purchased at an estate sale in Lincoln, Neb., and sent to Purple Hearts Reunited for safe keeping. No living immediate family exists. To honor PVT Long’s sacrifice, his Purple Heart medal and certificate was presented to members of the Sabetha VFW.

Purple Hearts Reunited

An estimated 1.8 million Purple Hearts have been awarded in our nation’s history. In addition to being awarded to those who fight overseas, the Purple Heart is also given to military personnel who display bravery and valor as prisoners of war and while fighting certain types of domestic terrorists.

Purple Hearts Reunited is a non-profit foundation that returns lost, stolen or misplaced medals of valor to veterans or their families in order to honor their sacrifice to the nation. When no living descendant is found, Purple Hearts Reunited finds a “Home of Honor” to display the medal for years to come. The organization has returned more than 800 lost medals, traveled over 150,000 miles, visited over 42 States and has directly affected the lives of more than one million people. For more information, visit www.purpleheartsreunited.org.

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