Three World War II veterans from North Carolina received France’s highest honor during a ceremony in Raleigh.
The three men received the Legion of Honor for their help in liberating France during the Second World War. The men shared their memories after the French national anthem finished playing.
John Dewitt Waters, 93, remembered how it snowed for two weeks during the Battle of the Bulge. He recalled many soldiers losing their feet and legs to frostbite.
Irvin Price, 92, is amazed he made it out alive. “The first night over there our ship got four holes blown in it.” Waters said that it was terrible seeing so many friends die every day.
France is free now thanks to the efforts of men like those honored recently. They spoke about the beachhead landings under enemy fire and battles where they fought hard just to move the front forward an inch.
They didn’t talk about those experiences for years.
Michael Waters is the son of John. He said that the veterans of World War II kept it all inside. He also said that they were quite honored to receive the award from France.
France looks at the men as heroes. Earnest Moore, 91, said that the true heroes didn’t make it home. “There are so many cemeteries over there,” he said through tears.
As each man received their award, they thought back to 73 years ago as they fought the enemy to stay alive and secure victory for the Allies. Price never didn’t realize the importance of the event at the time. “I was just a 17-year-old running up and down the beach. It didn’t scare me – I was just a teenager.”
That teenager helped save the world.
The National Order of the Legion of Honor was founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. Its purpose is to recognize the highest service rendered to the French Republic, WNCN reported. It is not awarded frivolously. Each recipient’s military history is researched closely before they can receive the honor.