A military veteran's service medals — earned with honour and sent back in anger — were proudly returned at an emotional ceremony in Lower Sackville, N.S., on Friday.

A crowd gathered to honour Dennis Manuge, who fought an almost decade-long battle with the federal government and won.

"It feels good to have my medals back and on my chest where they belong. It's just symbolic of the struggle," said Manuge.

Manuge was so furious with the federal government over disability benefits for veterans he sent his medals back to the Governor General and launched a class-action lawsuit.

Manuge, the lead plaintiff, is a former mechanic who was injured in 2003. He claimed he lost about $10,000 between then and 2005 due to the government clawing back pension money meant for pain and suffering.

About 4,500 veterans across Canada joined a class-action lawsuit, claiming the government was unfairly clawing back money paid out for pain and suffering.

federal court sided with the veterans earlier this year.

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Dennis Manuge, the lead plantiff in a class-action lawsuit against the federal government, is a former mechanic who was injured in 2003. (CBC)

 

"To all those brave souls, who demonstrated what real courage, sacrifice and valour is. Thank you for showing me the way," said Manuge.

"When I returned these medals, it was one sort of volley, one little battle in a war, what I considered a war against our government."

Sackville-Eastern Shore MP Peter Stoffer said Manuge asked for his medals back after the court verdict.

"What Dennis did, to return his medals back to him from the Governer General was the finest honour I've had as a Member of Parliament to date," said Stoffer.

Manuge will wear his medals for the first Remembrance Day ceremony since 2005.

He said he can't wait to attend, now that he can proudly wear his medals.

Stoffer also presented several Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals to veterans living in his riding during Friday's ceremony.