WWII Veteran Receives Service Medals 70 Years Later

Reporter: Lauren Compton l Videographer: Ira Quillen

Lynchburg,VA - A Lynchburg resident survived starvation, imprisonment, and the infamous Bataan Death March during WWII. Now 70 years later, George Rogers is finally getting recognition for his bravery.

Rogers has just recently received a Purple Heart and a Prisoner of War Medal. He says in spite of all the horrors he faced, he lives life with joy, and now closure that he has finally received the recognition he so rightly deserves.

At 93-years-old George Rogers is proud of the life he has lived, one filled with children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

"Oh, man. God is good," said Rogers.

It's a joy he once thought he would never live to see.

"In that time I helped bury 1,600 Americans and that was all because of the march," said Rogers.

While serving in the Philippines during WWII, Rogers and thousands of American and Philippino troops were taken prisoner by the Japanese and forced to march about 75 miles in just five days- a treacherous walk known as the Bataan Death March.

"It was grueling, yes. But I just kept right on going with the help of the bayonets at the back of us," said Rogers.

The POWs were taken to camps with little food or water but plenty of abuse. Rogers withered away to a mere 85 pounds.

"Now the Lord was protecting me the whole time, because a lot of men died while I was in camp," he said.

He credits that faith with giving him the patience to wait 70 years to finally receive these medals for his service. It's that same faith he credits with bringing him back safe and sound.

"They transferred us to American warships. Then we came home to San Franciso. Praise the Lord."

Rogers wife made has made a way for his story to be passed down to other generations. She made a book with Rogers' story and pictures as a POW.

On Father's Day, Roger's Pastor Jonathan Falwell will share his story with his church.