Tampa, Florida --The National Anthem has never meant so much to this soldier. Carrollwood resident and former Army Specialist Robert A. French served in the Vietnam War and after 46 years he is finally being recognized at MacDill Air Force Base and given his Bronze Star Medal.

"It's never ever too late to do the right thing for a fellow soldier," said Major General Karl R. Horst.

French was awarded the Purple Heart two weeks after he and about 300 soldiers were ambushed near the Mekong Delta in 1967. At the time Frenchwas also nominated for the Bronze Star for his exceptional performance and loyalty during the attack, but nomination paperwork was misplaced and he never received his medal.

"Our reunion in 2000 they asked, 'Did you all ever get your medals?' We asked, 'What medals?' Nobody knew anything about it, so at that time he started putting in paperwork all over again and they finally decided, 'Well, I guess we'll give it to them,'" said French.

Family and friends filled the room overwhelmed with emotion as this hero finally received an honor well deserved.

"It means a lot more now because I'm with my family and friends; means a lot more than if they would've given it to me in Vietnam," French said.

After many years of waiting, French is still as thankful as he was 46 years ago.

"I had a wonderful time and have thoroughly enjoyed today. Thank you all for having me."

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