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Indiana World War II veteran honored for service seven decades later

Posted at 8:48 PM, May 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-30 20:51:45-04

INDIANAPOLIS – A World War II veteran who was injured and captured during the Battle of the Bulge was honored for his service Tuesday.

At the age of 21, Paul Wagner was sent to war with the 432rd Infantry Regiment, but in December 1944 he was captured by the Germans where he was held as a prisoner.

After four months of being exposed to freezing temperatures and malnutrition, in May of 1945 a telegraph informed Wagner’s parents he was freed.

“Your son private first class Paul Wagner is being returned to the United States within the near future,” the telegraph read.

Once back in the U.S., Wagner received an honorable discharge and entered the monastery.

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As he was not honored in the past for his service, family and friends gathered during a ceremony where Wagner was presented five medals – including the bronze star.

"I didn't expect as many people as there were here,” said Wagner. “The love and devotion. The acceptance of the people means more to me than I could've imagined."

Wagner suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from his war experience, but his wife Beverly has been there each step of the way for the past 50 years.