Colorado WWII vets get French Legion of Honor medals

Thursday, 12 October 2017, 10:55:09 PM. French government honors five Colorado soldiers for helping liberate France from the Nazis during World War II.

WINDSOR — The five Army veterans sat patiently, waiting to be honored for their action in battle more than 70 years ago.

Two sat in wheelchairs, one had a cane propped between his knees.

The event that brought the five Northern Colorado residents together, along with a crowd of about 100 family members, friends and well-wishers, was a ceremony conducted by the French government to honor the soldiers for helping liberate France from Nazi control in 1944 during World War II.

Jeffrey Richards, honorary consul of France in Colorado, pinned a medal on the chest of each one denoting that they had been bestowed the rank of chevalier (knight) in the National Order of the Legion of Honor. It is France’s highest honor, according to the consulate.

After the ceremony, Loveland resident Oliver Lee Bashor said what almost every old veteran tells a reporter, or a grandchild, who asks about his service: “All we did was do what we were supposed to do and do the best you can.”

That, however, is not what the people conducting the ceremony said. “These men were the heart of the Greatest Generation,” said master of ceremonies Wesley West, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, in reference to the book by Tom Brokaw.

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