Valley Congressman Jeff Denham presented two former prisoners of war with a medal at the Fresno Veterans Day Parade in downtown Fresno on Friday.
Retired Lt. Colonel Peter Komlenich spent 18 months in captivity in Germany after Nazis shot down his B-24 bomber over Italy. "It's a day they should have more than once a year really." said Komlenich in 2007.
Action News was there in 2007 when Komlenich along with other veterans groups and former P.O.W.'s attended a ceremony at the Castle Air Museum in Atwater. A stroke in 2008 affected some of his speech, but Mickey Rucker says her father is well aware of the enormous impact he's had on people. "He never really likes to be the center of attention but he does realize that the stroke affected physical parts but not his mental so he certainly realizes what today is and what today means to not only he and his family but to the entire country." said Rucker.
Dale Emens is a retired Air Force Captain who spent 22 months in a World War Two German war camp near the Polish border after his plane was shot down in a bombing mission over Germany. He's honored by the award but admits it took many years before he could even talk about it with friends of family. "Well I, at first I couldn't talk about it at all. I lost four good men over there." said Emens.
Valley Congressman Jeff Denham is a veteran himself. The North Valley Republican served in the Air Force during Desert Storm. For him veterans day is more than just a holiday. "It's very personal. I mean it's a day to get together with others that have served and give thanks and understand the fight that we fought for our freedom in this country." said Denham.
These two men endured hardships that most of us will never understand. But on Veterans Day thousands of people made sure both of them understood just how appreciative they were for their service and sacrifice.