In a quiet neighborhood in Palm Bay, a Marine Corps veteran lay in his hospice bed surrounded by family, friends and everyone else who came to honor him Wednesday.
In this intimate and final setting, Master Sgt. Michael Moro was pinned with the Silver Star for his service in the Vietnam War where he was injured in May 1967 when he was a private first class.
The 79-year-old originally from Albany rested in his hospice bed with an American flag draped on the wall behind him and another smaller one standing on the bedside table. On the walls were dozens of photos of family spanning generations, some age-worn in black and and others glossy and colorful.
Firefighters outside drove by with lights flashing as a sign of honor for Moro's service and others inside along with a coterie of veterans shook his hand and thanked him for his service in a small ceremony.
"Just for me?" he said.
"What do you mean 'Just for you?'" his wife of 54 years Linda Moro said. "You're a hero."
Those attending to honor his service stood with hands over hearts as the Marine Corps Hymn played and Moro was presented with pins, a hat and even a quilt to recognize his contribution to the United States.
The recognition shown to Moro on Wednesday morning was earned over half a century ago in Southeast Asia.
He and his company came under heavy attack and were severely outnumbered by North Vietnamese forces when the amphibious tractor he was riding in was struck by an enemy round, causing it to catch fire and filling it with smoke.
"Despite intense enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire and the danger of a secondary explosion, Private First Class Moro courageously remained in the vehicle and assistted in extracting his wounded companions," his commendation reads.
"As he was moving the wounded men to a safe position, he observed a man lying wounded under a burning dual 40-mm. anti-aircraft gun. Disregarding his own safety, he fearlessly exposed himself to intense enemy automatic weapons fire as he ran toward the gun to rescue the casualty."
The gun that had been trapping the other man then exploded, wounding Moro in both legs and his right arm. Even so, he refused medical aid and continued to provide first aid to others who were wounded as well as providing encouragement and comfort to those injured in the company.
Moro received the Silver Star for his "Steadfast determination and selfless devotion to duty in the face of extreme danger."
This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Palm Bay veteran in hospice pinned with Silver Star for Vietnam service