Purple Heart recipients gather at Tech game - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Purple Heart recipients gather at Tech game

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

The largest gathering of Purple Heart recipients ever in the United States - around 400 men and women - sat inside of Jones AT&T stadium, hoping for a Texas Tech win against Kansas State.

"We're definitely honored and very humbled, but we're not the heroes," said Richard Murphy, a Vietnam veteran. "The heroes are the people that died and didn't come back. Those are the heroes."

Murphy was at the game with his family. His shirt was purple with a Purple Heart patch embroidered on his chest. He lives in Lubbock now, but originally came from Massachusetts. He said at first he was nervous to be in Lubbock, but three decades later, he doesn't want to leave.

"I had no idea where it was," he said. "I looked on a map. There was no green, no blue. I thought, 'My God, where did they send me? I can't wait to get out of here.' 37 years later here I am. The finest people I have ever met in my life are right here in this city."

Sitting two rows behind Murphy was Ronald Goulette. He was a combat medic in Vietnam, a member of the 101st airborne division.

"It's a big honor for me to be here," Goulette said. "All of these guys have traveled in here from all over the United States. We even had a guy last night who came as far away as Germany. This is the first time ever. I'd like to see it get together with all the Purple Heart veterans every year."

Amos Nugent is a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and said he was in awe taking in the moment.

"I'm feeling pretty humble," he said, "pretty honored to be with all these Purple Heart recipients. No one wants to earn this medal, but when we do it's sacred to us."

The most emotional part for him is remembering the friends he served with overseas.

"I think the comradery that you build in combat - no one can understand that except for us. It's just one of those unspoken bonds that, unless you were there, you don't understand."

Saturday's game was something Nugent said he will never forget.

"I have three more years of school left here at Tech," he said, "and I hope we get to do it forever."

Copyright 2013 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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