American Legion celebrates National Purple Heart Day - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

American Legion celebrates National Purple Heart Day

(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
Retired Army Staff Sergeant Michael Morabito (Source: WALB) Retired Army Staff Sergeant Michael Morabito (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
American Legion Post 335 Commander Ray Humphrey (Source: WALB) American Legion Post 335 Commander Ray Humphrey (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) -

Dozens of Southwest Georgia wounded war heroes were recognized on Monday in honor of National Purple Heart Day.  

The American Legion Post 335 in Sylvester held their 3rd Annual Dinner for local purple heart recipients. 

"All the guys and girls who received this metal and didn't come home," said Staff Sergeant Michael Morabito.

Some of his first thoughts when asked what National Purple Heart Day meant to him.

Retired from the Army, Morabito joined at 24 and served in Korea and Iraq in 2004. 

"While you're in a war you're making split second decisions and then you get home you have the rest of your life to break down every millisecond," Morabito explained. 

It's days like this one that forced him to re-live what he refers to as his second birthday. 

"We call it our alive day when we were hit, and we should've died but we didn't," said Morabito.

Wounded by a vehicle borne improvised explosive device, he suffered severe burns and spinal cord injuries. 

After hearing Morabito's story, American Legion Post Commander Ray Humphrey started the Purple Heart dinner. 

"They went into battle, they were wounded in battle and they paid the price that a lot of didn't pay and they have nothing but my respect," he remarked. 

Congressman Austin Scott was the guest speaker for the evening. 

"It's a way for me to give back," Scott said to the audience. 

But for Morabito, the real heroes were the men and women who died on the battlefield so that he and other purple heart recipients can continue to serve their country, "it's not a heroic action, it's a choice," he said. 

Staff Sergeant Morabito continues to serve through President Bush's Military Service Initiative Team.

He travels around the country to prevent service men and women from committing suicide.

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