Ernest Shepherd attended the Veterans Day ceremony on Monday at Oak Ridge National Laboratory wearing a uniform similar to what he wore in 1944 when the hospital he was working in as a medic in Belgium was hit with a German bomb.
Shepherd—89 years old and an ORNL retiree who treated wounded from the D-Day invasion prior to moving on to Belgium—would earn the Purple Heart for his heroics in the aftermath of the bombing.
“It blew out all the windows in that whole building,” recalled Shepherd, who was on the second floor when the bomb crashed into the hospital and exploded about 300 feet from where he was located. “It killed 29 people. There were between 12 to 15 air personnel killed, and one major who I really liked got killed. I got wounded in the face with shrapnel or flying glass. That’s how I earned the Purple Heart.”
After recovering from his injuries in Paris, Shepherd was sent back to Belgium a few months later and treated wounded from the Battle of the Bulge.
Listen to an interview with Shepherd here.