An 85-year-old Beverly Hills psychiatrist was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross at the White House on Friday, six decades after he saved the life of a badly wounded mission commander aboard a bomber crippled during a World War II raid. Dr. Bernard Bail had the medal clipped to his chest by Vice President Dick Cheney. “From the day of our founding, the decisive protector of this nation’s freedom has been the character of citizens like you,” Cheney said. “It is a joyous and thrilling and touching occasion for me,” Bail said afterward in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from the French Embassy in Washington, where he was also honored. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant “It is a thrill beyond everything you know, that the country remembers me after 60 years and rectified something they obviously overlooked,” he said. Bail said he doesn’t think about his war experience often, but news of the current Iraq conflict jostles his memory. “If I look at the war, our current struggle, then I think about what it was at that time,” he said. “Different time, different war, different purpose but insofar as you can be hurt or maimed, it’s the same.” Bail went on 22 more combat missions, earning many medals, including the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, a presidential citation and a Purple Heart. On his final mission, his plane was shot down over Germany and shell fragments wounded him in the skull and neck. He was captured and spent five months as a POW. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!