During the month of November, FOX 26 News is bringing you stories of America's military veterans.
Bill Yerega served in the Army almost 70 years ago. He'll celebrate his 94th birthday next week.
But the World War II vet remembers very clearly the day that ended his military career. The day he earned his Purple Heart. The day German artillery almost cost him his leg, if not his life.
"When the next round came in," Yerega recalled, "I heard it coming in and I turned to go to my slit trench. I never made it. It hit a few feet from us. And I finally got to my slit trench and saw my leg was bleeding. It was bleeding pretty badly."
But the shrapnel missed his femoral artery by a sliver. Yerega never saw combat again.
He had previously earned a Silver Star for diverting German soldiers, calling in artillery strikes by sound - instead of by sight - in the darkness.
Yerega's war mementos are among many now on display at Parkway Place in west Houston. The senior living community is home to 53 military veterans in all.
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