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Bronx Family Gets War Hero’s Purple Heart 70 Years After His Death

Rep. Joe Crowley Presents Replacement
Carmelo DiGregorio (via Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

Carmelo DiGregorio (via Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The family of a Bronx man who received the Purple Heart in World War II has received a replacement 70 years after his death.

Carmelo DiGregorio received the Purple Heart in 1943 after being severely wounded in the third battle of Guadalcanal.

His younger brother Ben said he did not have to return to war.

“He was a real sailor. I’ll tell you that who loved the Navy and did not want to stay home,” Ben told WCBS 880 reporter Marla Diamond.

But a year later, on the U.S.S. Atlanta, a giant wave claimed the life of DiGregorio and possibly his Purple Heart.

“It could have been on a ship with him… He could have taken it with him,” Ben said.

Ben wanted that purple heart and on Monday, Rep. Joe Crowley presented the family with a replacement.

“I wanted his medals, that’s all. I wanted something to show that, you know, there’s a lot of honor here,” Ben said.

“It’s important, I think, not from a nostalgic point of view, but from a personal point of view, the families have that connection to the loved one and to know their contribution to the sustaining of this great country,” Crowly said.

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