GEORGETOWN, TX -- Thousands of the U.S. Military service-members who proudly protect America never get the recognition they deserve for the sacrifices they make.

Saturday morning, that changed for two of them.

The freedoms and opportunities that we continue to have today were made possible by the sacrifices your father and his fellow service members made to preserve our American way of life, said U.S. Sen. John Cornyn's Regional Director Sandy Edwards.

Air Force Master Sgt. John Krowl and Army Special Forces Master Sgt. Ben Snowden were posthumously presented war medals.

They have set a bar and standard of excellence that we all can aspire, said U.S. Army Major Gen. Warren Phipps Jr., commander of Division West, First Army at Fort Hood.

Krowl immigrated to the U.S. from Poland and lived in Schertz, Texas. A bomber for the Air Corps, Krowl was captured by the Japanese in World War II and was held prisoner for three years before being released in 1945.

He died in 1983, two years before President Ronald Reagen and Congress created the Prisoner of War Medal.

You know, I didn't know what I was missing and then one day he had come back and it was a surprise, said Krowl's daughter Linda Kirchner.

Kirchner was just one year old when her father became a prisoner of war. She accepted the award in his honor.

Green Beret Master Sgt. Ben Snowden of Georgetown was also honored for his service during the Vietnam War. Snowden was awarded the third highest military award, the Silver Star.

I think about him everyday, said Master Sgt. Jay Massey (Retired).

Massey was in the same unit as Snowden and can still remember the day his friend was killed in action.

He went out to a team that was in trouble, they had made contact with a much larger enemy force, said Massey. Ben, being on one the helicopters, trying to get one of the recon team members up

Snowden's wife Betty accepted the award with the couple's children and Snowden's siblings close by.

It's a great honor to be here to receive this. I just wish he was here to do it, said Betty Snowden.

That sentiment is felt by both families because no medal could ever replace what they've lost. Still, they say the recognition lets them know their deaths weren't in vain.

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