SC WWII veterans to be honored on D-Day anniversary - FOX Carolina 21

SC WWII veterans to be honored on D-Day anniversary

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The Legion of Honor medal is France's highest military award. (File/FOX Carolina) The Legion of Honor medal is France's highest military award. (File/FOX Carolina)
COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Several surviving World War II veterans, some of whom were present 70 years ago when the Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, will be honored this week by France.

Eight veterans from South Carolina will be awarded the insignia of Knight in the National Order of the Legion of Honor during a ceremony to be held Friday at 9:30 a.m. at South Carolina State House.

The National Order of the Legion of Honor is the highest honor in France, founded more than 200 years ago by Napoleon Bonaparte.

"It has been my great privilege to preside over many Legion of Honor decoration ceremonies in the U.S. Southeast," said Consul General Denis Barbet. "But the ceremony that will take place in Columbia is particularly special as it marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day. By paying tribute to these fine gentlemen, some of whom were present at Normandy, France remembers the American soldiers who helped recover its liberty, its pride and its honor."

Four of the eight veterans expected to be in attendance at Friday's ceremony are from the Upstate.

Byron E. Burns from Laurens (First Lieutenant, Company E, 442nd Infantry Regiment), George A. Wheeler from Gaffney (First Lieutenant, 1955 Quartermaster Company Truck), Frederick C. Wehrum from Anderson (Sergeant, 445th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, 8th Infantry Division) and Curtis D. Flemming from Greer (Seaman First Class, 6th Naval Beach Battalion) will be awarded.

The daughter of the late Thomas R. Scott Jr. from Greer (Technician 5th Grade, Battery B, 335th Field Artillery Battalion) will also accept the award on his behalf.

Friday's honorees are not the first Carolina veterans to be awarded the French Legion of Honor. In 2013 and 2012 several veterans were awarded the honor.

The Normandy landings began on June 6, 1944, ultimately leading to the liberation of France and end of World War II on the European front.

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