Veteran receives his medals.
SALEM - A Eugene veteran of World War II received his Purple Heart and Prisoner of War medals Tuesday, more than 60 years after earning them through his service in the war's Pacific Theater.
Omar McGuire, 85, was awarded his medals in a ceremony in the Capitol. His wife, Lucy-Le, and Gov. Ted Kulongoski pinned the medals on McGuire's blue blazer as the audience in the governor's ceremonial office gave a standing ovation.
McGuire served in the Philippines with the U.S. Army Air Corps. He survived bombing by the Japanese but was captured and forced to endure the 100-mile "Bataan Death March."
McGuire later was forced with other U.S. captives to provide prisoner labor. He survived bombing by the United States of the Japanese steel mill where he was working at the end of World War II.
McGuire was active with several veteran organizations but it wasn't until recently that he contacted the military to inquire about medals, since he was discharged without having ever pursued them.
Given the chance to address the audience, McGuire did not speak of his own military experiences leading up to the belated awarding of his medals. Instead, he praised his wife, whom he married shortly after the war.
"Anybody who has been married to a POW for 60 years deserves some kind of a medal," he said with a smile.
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|Title Annotation:||General News; Omar McGuire is honored more than 60 years after his service|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||May 31, 2006|
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