FLANDREAU, S.D. — A World War II veteran from South Dakota has received his Purple Heart medal, nearly three-quarters of a century after serving in the Navy.

The ceremony for 94-year-old Sylvan Vigness, of Flandreau, was held Saturday afternoon at the Flandreau Community Center. His 89-year-old wife, Iona, was asked to pin the award on her husband’s sweater.

Sylvan Vigness served on the USS Hinsdale as petty officer and signalman. He injured his left eye in 1945 during a Japanese kamikaze plane crash onto his ship headed to the initial landings at Iwo Jima in the western Pacific. He wasn’t treated until months later.

Vigness is a longtime South Dakota educator who spent most of his time in Flandreau, where he taught agriculture and served as school superintendent. He retired in 1988.

Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com

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