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101-year-old WWII veteran from Baton Rouge awarded Purple Heart decades later

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BATON ROUGE - A national hero from Louisiana was honored with the prestigious Purple Heart decades after he overcame several injuries to fight in the D-Day invasion.

Baton Rouge native Johnnie Jones was finally honored Saturday, 77 years after he was wounded in Normandy during World War II.

"We should all pay tribute to Johnnie Johns. He stormed the beach at Normandy to free the world of Nazi oppression. He worked in the United States to make the words of the Declaration of Independence and the constitution live for all Americans. We are--whoever you are--a better person, society, state, nation, world because of Johnnie Jones," Senator Bill Cassidy said.

The 101-year-old had his Purple Heart pinned on him by Senator Cassidy in the presence of many influential lawmakers.

"I just wanted to say to you today that I stand on your shoulders, and I thank you for all of your hard work," State Senator Cleo Fields said.

Jones was wounded by shrapnel from German airplanes and was on a ship when it hit a mine on Omaha Beach.

But the fight continued when he returned to the United States, as African-Americans faced extensive discrimination. Jones went on to get his law degree at Southern University and took on numerous civil rights cases, which included representing the organizers of the Baton Rouge bus boycotts.

"I know that I'm where I'm at home, getting these praises, and I will continue to be everything that I can to inspire others to follow my footsteps," Jones said.

Jones previously received two Bronze Stars and one Bronze Arrowhead.


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