Oak Ridge resident and World War II veteran Melvin E. Kallio is one of five Tennessee veterans who will receive the prestigious Legion of Honor Medal from France in a ceremony in Nashville in October.
“As an expression of France’s eternal gratitude to those who liberated it from oppression from 1944-1945, the Consul General of France to the U.S. Southeast, Denis Barbet, will bestow the Legion of Honor upon five WWII veterans from Tennessee,” said a press release from the Consulate General of France in Atlanta.
The National Order of the Legion of Honor is the highest honor conferred upon a French or foreign national in France. It was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, and it recognizes eminent services to the French Republic.
American veterans who risked their lives during World War II and who fought on French territory qualify to be decorated as Knights of the Legion of Honor. Veterans must have fought in one of the four main campaigns of the Liberation of France: Normandy, Provence, Ardennes, or Northern France. Recipients of this honor are designated by the President of the Republic, François Hollande.
Kallio, who said he was 92 in April, fought in Colmar Pocket. He was a machine gunner in the 12th Armored Division, and he and other soldiers had been ready to fight at the Battle of the Bulge. [Read more…]