Published: Nov 11, 2011 11:35 PM EST
Updated: Nov 11, 2011 11:47 PM EST

NAPLES, Fla.-  More than four decades after serving in Vietnam, Donald Hendricksen was finally awarded a purple heart Friday.

Hendricksen was wounded in combat in south Vietnam in 1965.

At 67 years old, he finally received his just due.

"It's something I never though of for a long time, and didn't expect it," Hendricksen said.

Hendricksen received a letter distinguishing him as a recipient, but the medal never came.

After six months of talks with the U.S. Justice Department the Naples VFW chapter tracked it down.

The mystery of why Hendricksen never received it remains.

He guesses it was a clerical error.

"The company I was in in Vietnam kept moving around and you'd have a company clerk, but he didn't have his office to work with.  He did mention it but it was never done," Hendricksen said.

Hendricksen and his wife Marille say they have no hard feelings and that his story should serve as a reminder that it's never too late to show a veteran your appreciation.