KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A Knoxville veteran has been chosen to represent Tennessee's Purple Heart recipients during the 2021 Purple Heart Patriot Project.
Captain Robert "Buzz" Buswell served in the Army during the Vietnam War and was wounded twice in June 1970 after an ambush attack. He spent 19 months in the hospital and underwent 27 surgeries before he relearned how to walk.
Along with his Purple Heart, he was awarded numerous medals and commendations during his service, including the Bronze Star.
Now decades later, Buswell will be added to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New York and will be part of the Patriot Project to visit the hall later this year in October. The trip will include a visit to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and historic Washington's Headquarters.
"I'm honored to represent all the Purple Heart recipients in Tennessee. That Hall of Honor has an honor roll, so any Purple Heart recipient can go on their website and register and join us as members of that honor roll," he said.
He said he will get the chance to nominate another Purple Heart recipient for next year's class.
Nearly two million Americans have been awarded the Purple Heart, according to the Hall of Honor. It said it wants to ensure all Purple Heart heroes are able to be memorialized for generations to come.
“Our Purple Heart recipients have made enormous sacrifices for America and this is our opportunity to say ‘thank you’ on behalf of a grateful nation. For some, this will be like the homecoming they never had. We received hundreds of nominations from across the country and we look forward to honoring Buzz for his sacrifice and lifelong service to his community,” retired Colonel Russ Vernon, executive director for the National Purple Heart Honor Mission, said.