DENVER – Six World War II veterans who live in Colorado received France's highest honor on Monday: the Légion d'honneur. The men were knighted during a ceremony at the State Capitol for their role in helping liberate France.
The men were joined by their family members. Most of the veterans had never met before, so they spent a good chunk of their time sharing stories with one another.
Among the veterans in attendance was Staff Sergeant Robert Burrows. When asked why he was receiving the award he responded with an honest answer:
"Well, I'm probably questioning that myself," Burrows said.
The World War II veteran spent about five months in France in 1944. During that time he served as Jeep driver, transferring officers from location to location.
"I had no physical combat in France," he said.
Because of that, Burrows felt he didn't deserve to be knighted along with his fellow veterans. Instead, he felt the honor should go to some of his friends who didn't return home from the war. Burrows said he thinks about them several times a week.
"Three of them were killed instantly and two died later on," Burrows said as he choked back tears.
When accepting the medal, Burrows said he would hold on to it in honor of his friends.
"It is an honor, it really is," Burrows added.
Burrows is from Broomfield. Five other Colorado veterans were honored as well. The list includes:
Technical Sergeant Charles W. Blaney, Staff Sergeant Claude John C. Corbridge, Corporal Lawrence C. Farnan, Corporal Joseph F. McCluggage Jr. and Private First Class Wesley B. Ferguson.
Together the men have received dozens of honors, including purple hearts and bronze medals.
Monday's honor was extra special. The Légion d'honneur is split up into five different categories. The highest being 'Chevalier' which means 'Knight'. All six men were knighted during the ceremony.
The categories are as follows:
- Chevalier (Knight),
- Officier (Officer),
- Commandeur (Commander)
- Grand Officier (Grand Officer)
- Grand Croix (Grand Cross)
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