98-year-old former Army nurse honored by U.S. and French government

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WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — A former U.S. Army nurse, who served during World War II, is receiving quite the Christmas gift this year. After more than 70 years, she’s being honored for her service by both the U.S and French government.

“I always enjoyed taking care of people,” said Mildred Speers.

At 98 years young, Mildred Speers still remembers her time treating hundreds of wounded soldiers as a U.S. Army nurse during World War II.

“I was with 5 campaigns, so I was busy,” said Speers.

Speers was a First Lieutenant assigned to the 96th Evacuation Hospital in Normandy in 1944, where more than 4,000 patients were treated in just a month. She remembers some of her best patients were the wounded soldiers.

“They appreciated everything I did. Regardless of how small it was,” said Speers.

While she remembers her service, others are too. Congressman Brian Higgins and the French Honorary Consul presented Speers with U.S. Military medals and the French Legion of Honor Medal Monday morning.

“I thought I was forgotten, but to see all these people. I was stunned, I had to cry,” said Speers.

Speers says she was only 20 years old when she joined the service — inspired after her brother died.

“It was a war on and they were screaming for nurses,” said Speers.

Speers came back to western New York in 1946 and continued her nursing career. She retired from nursing in the 80s, but says she’ll always remember her patients during the war and here at home.

Her service will also never be forgotten.

“Only the young can do it. I couldn’t do it today,” said Speers.

Speers says she is very grateful for this honor. In addition to her medals, Speers was also given a flag flown over the Capitol in Washington D.C.

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