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Purple Heart Veterans Hold Annual Conference

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The military order of the Purple Heart chapter of Sioux Falls held its 6th annual conference on Saturday. The 30 some purple heart Veterans were all wounded in combat from WWII to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

From their bright purple shirts, to their wheelchairs, canes, and service dogs, Purple Heart veterans share a bond. Department Commander Mark T. Williamson says the experience of being wounded in action lasts long after the conflict stops. 

“You’re kind of like a band of brothers. You’ve all got something in common, you’ve all been wounded in combat, and so it’s kind of a social thing- it’s easier to talk to people that have got the same purple heart than to somebody who has no idea what the experience of being wounded is like,” said Williamson. 

Commander Nick Nelson says events like the conference are important for supporting veterans. 

“I remember my first national convention I went to for Purple Heart. After it was over I was thinking on that fight home, there’s just that little bit more of comradery," said Nelson. 

But Nelson says there are still high rates of homelessness and suicide among veterans returning home. He says one day he would like to see every veteran with a home and a good support system.