France honors 6 SC WWII veterans - FOX Carolina 21

France honors 6 SC WWII veterans

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The Legion of Honour medals are lined up on a table before the ceremony. (June 8, 2012/FOX Carolina) The Legion of Honour medals are lined up on a table before the ceremony. (June 8, 2012/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (AP/FOX Carolina) -

A South Carolina veteran of World War II who helped drive German forces from France said he's pleased to be recognized with France's highest military award, the Legion of Honour.

Orville Stanley Smith, 88, of West Columbia, is one of six veterans honored Friday at a ceremony in Greenville.

French Consul General Pascal Le Denuff, based in Atlanta, presented the award.

Smith said he took part in the Battle of the Bulge, the operation to push the Germans away from the city of Colmar and with U.S. forces in the Ruhr industrial region.

SLIDESHOW: France honors SC WWII vets

"We, the French, we will never forget what you did to restore our freedom," Denuff told the men. "France is what it is today - a free and sovereign country - thanks to their bravery, and thanks to America."

The other veterans who were honored Friday were George Wheeler, of Saluda; Benjamin Herlong, of Saluda; Harry Duvall, of Taylors; John McCarty, of Batesburg and Truman Trotter, of Saluda.

Letters from the French Embassy and Consulate said the award expresses France's gratitude to those who liberated it in 1944 and 1945.

The medals bestow the rank of Knight on the six men, as decreed by the French president.

Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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