A Purple Heart has been awarded posthumously to a World War I hero wounded on a battlefield in France 100 years ago.
Sgt. Perry Loyd, a member of the Army’s all-black 371st Infantry Regiment, was honored at an emotional ceremony Saturday at the U.S. Army’s Fort Jackson in South Carolina.
Perry James accepted the Purple Heart on behalf of his grandfather who returned to his life as a sharecropper in South Carolina’s Sumter County after he was wounded. Loyd died in 1946 at age 61, according to reports.
“It’s proof that my grandfather was a patriot, a war hero, and a leader of men,” James, 62, told WLTX-TV. “It gives me pride.”
World War I soldier Perry Loyd’s Purple Heart. ( Wallace McBride/Fort Jackson)
James was researching his grandfather’s life when he learned he had been wounded on Sept. 29, 1918, during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive at the war’s end, WIS-TV reported.
Loyd died without knowing he had been recommended for the Wound Chevron, which had been awarded before the Purple Heart was created, according to the station.
“Years later, that’s when the grandson picks up the mantle and says, we got to set this right because he earned it,” Fort Jackson commander Brig. Gen. Milford Beagle told the station.
Family and friends from across the country attended the Fort Jackson ceremony.
“I find great joy looking at his picture because I believe I’m looking at his soul and he was here today,” James told WIS.