Chicago-Area WWII Vet Awarded Purple Heart Decades After Service

Technically Daniel Sayad was awarded the Purple Heart in 1946 for his service in WWII. But it took more than 70 years for the veteran to receive the medal.

Friday he brought it home to suburban Norridge to share with friends and family.

It was a hero's welcome or 93-year-old Sayad. Originally from Chicago the Colorado man served two-and-a-half years, arriving at the beaches of Normandy just weeks after D-Day.

Sayad was injured by a mortar in November of 1944 and then shot by a German sniper while being transported for medical care. He was awarded the Purple Heart.

“I’ve had the paperwork all these years and I never thought about the medal and I never got it then in 1946," he said.

More than seven decades later while undergoing treatment for cancer at the Denver VA, he told the staff that he never received his medal.

So, three weeks ago an oncology nurse there along with staffers made sure he got it--71 years later.

“When I opened the door there was a room with about 40 or 50 people and they had the Purple Heart and I just cracked up I couldn’t hold it," he said.

The medal was engraved with his name, branch and dates of service. He may now be the last person to ever receive a purple heart for his service in WW2.

“I knew he was a purple heart recipient but I had no idea that it was this significant or what he had to go through to get this purple heart," said Kyle Sayad, Daniel's son.

Friday he arrived back in the Norridge where he was thanked for his service and beamed as he held his medal.

Sayad, who lived just two blocks from Wrigley Field as a boy, plans to take in his first Cubs game in years on Tuesday.

Family members say they’re happy to have their father and hero back home.

Contact Us