CHARLOTTE, N.C.-- The men and women who serve give their all even if it means helping another country liberate itself from oppression.
On this Veterans Day, 15 North Carolina WWII Veterans were honored for carrying out a mission that included helping another country gain its freedom. The French Government honored them with the Legion of Honor, the highest honor in France.
In a news release, a spokesperson for the government said the honor is France's eternal gratitude to those who liberated it from oppression from 1944-45. The ceremony was held in Charlotte and the Consul General of France in Atlanta, Denis Barbet did the duty of bestowing the Legion of Honor to those soldiers.
"We cannot praise these men enough for all they have done, and it is only befitting that we honor them on Veterans Day. We the French, we will never forget what they did to restore our freedom," declared Consul General Denis Barbet.
The following veterans have all confirmed their presence. They will receive this award in recognition of their courage:
- William G. Greenlee, from Marion, NC (Lieutenant Colonel, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Division )
- Jean M. Varda, from Waxhaw, NC (Lieutenant Colonel, Company A, 802nd Tank Destroyer Battalion)
- Walter L. Dickens, from Monroe, NC (Technical Sergeant, Medical Detachment 116th Infantry)
- James B. Taylor, from Shelby, NC (Technical Sergeant, Headquarters Company, 83rd Infantry Division)
- Walter H. Barrett, from Winston-Salem, NC (Staff Sergeant, 508th Parachute Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division)
- King T. Kenny, from Harrisburg, NC (Sergeant, Reconnaissance Company, 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, 30th Infantry Division)
- Ernest B. Wallace, from Waxhaw, NC (Sergeant, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne)
- William W. Verba, from Matthews, NC (Corporal, 275th Infantry Regiment, 70th Division)
- John H. Balazic, from Waxhaw, NC (Technician 5th Grade, Headquarters Company, 4th Armored Division)
- Alfred C. Hall, from Lewisville, NC (Technician 5th Grade, 36th Engineer Combat Battalion)
- Frank W. Bennett, from Arden, NC (Private First Class, Company C, 208th Engineer Combat Battalion)
- Hugh W. Hunt, from Casar, NC (Private First Class, Company A, 32nd Medical Battalion)
- Lewis F. Spitzer, from Charlotte, NC (Private First Class, 44th Signal Company, 44th Infantry Division)
- James A. Kivett, from Greensboro, NC (Seaman First Class, USS LCI 502)
- Robert O. Beroth, from Clemmons, NC (Coxswain V-6, LST-282)
Founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the National Order of the Legion of Honor is the highest honor in France. It recognizes eminent services to the French Republic. Recipients of this honor are designated by the President of the Republic, François Hollande.