A World War II veteran whose plane was shot down over Nazi Germany in 1944 and was held prisoner of war in occupied Poland was awarded the Purple Heart Friday at age 94, just days shy of his 95th birthday.

Ryan Hughes of WJLA reports that John Pedevillano, 94, of College Park, Md., was awarded the honor at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., Friday. “All I can say is I love this country,” Pedevillano said during the ceremony, according to NBC4. “The greatest things of my life was this country and my wife.”

It was Pedevillano’s daughter who, in 2016, tracked down her father’s long-lost military records and, with the help of Sen. Barbara Mikulski, arranged for the Purple Heart to be awarded.

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