WW2 vets

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Wednesday, three World War II veterans were given an honor very few receive.

They are now in the same company as individuals like President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Charles Lindbergh after being honored by a country other than the U.S.

Soldiers Memorial Military Museum in downtown St. Louis was packed as three Americans were awarded the French Legion of Honor.

"it is the president of France who makes the ultimate decision on who gets the award, and I have to say that's pretty impressive from where I stand," said Major General Cassie Strom with the Air National Guard.

The Legion of Honor is the highest order of distinction given to a French citizen or a foreigner for their civil or military services.

The three men honored Wednesday, Gene Harmack, Alfred Villagran, and Glenn Harrison, served and helped to liberate France during the war.

Harmack was in the Battle of the Bulge, which was the deadliest battle of the war.

Villagran and Harrison were members of the 8th Air Force.

"The 8th Air Force actually more dangerous to serve in than the front lines of the infantry and they suffered more losses," Strom said.

Villagran flew 33 missions and Harrison flew 17 missions and was shot down twice.

All three were with family as a representative for the President of France gave them the Legion of Honor medals.

Representatives from Mayor Lyda Krewson's office and Congresswoman Ann Wagner's office were also a part of the ceremony.

“You are- Mr. Harmack, Mr. Villagran, Mr. Harrison true American heroes,” said the Honorable Guillaume Lacroix, Consul General of France for the Midwest. “Today I will proclaim officially you are becoming true French heroes."

Copyright 2019 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved


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