Local Veteran Receives the French Legion of Honor Medal for Service in World War II

RAYMORE, Mo., March 12, 2014 – The French Republic is awarding 90-year-old Roger F. James the Knight of the French Legion of Honor, the highest medal awarded by the country, 70 years after the veteran fought in the battle of Rittershoffen during World War II. Roger and his wife, Joan, have been residents of Foxwood Springs, a Brookdale senior living community, for the past 12 years.

The Knight of the French Legion of Honor medal was instituted by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. Roger first learned about the possibility of receiving the award through "The Liberator," the 14th Armored Division Association newsletter. He began an active internet conversation with other recipients and submitted his application through the French Consulate in Chicago. His application was sent to France for approval and now, a year later, he will be recognized at a ceremony on March 15, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. during a meeting of the Sons of American Revolution at the Holiday Inn on Reeder Road in Overland Park.

Roger vividly recalls the battle of Rittershoffen where he served as a corporal tank gunner. His company, Company “C”, 48th Tank Battalion, 14th Armored Division, lost 13 of its 15 tanks in the battle and the battle was later called part of the “greatest defensive battle of the war.” The more publicized battle of Bastogne was being fought simultaneously.

Roger met all qualifications of the award for an American. His service took place on French soil, he has received a minimum of two United States Army awards including a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star, he was honorably discharged and he is still living. Roger jokes that he is especially grateful that he still meets that last qualification.

Roger and Joan will be married 63 years in June and have two sons, one daughter, eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Foxwood Springs is located at 1500 Foxwood Drive in Raymore. For more information about Brookdale, visit www.brookdale.com.

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