Taylors Man Among Six WWII Veterans Honored By France
Harry Duvall helped liberate France during World War II, and was honored Friday by the General Consul of France for his heroism.
It's been nearly seven decades since Harry Duvall, then a private in the United States Army, charged the beach of Normandy in the initial attacks on D-Day.
On Friday, a grateful France bestowed on him and five others its nation's highest honor.
To express France’s gratitude to those who liberated it from German occupation during WWII, the Consul General of France in Atlanta, Pascal Le Deunff, presented the Legion of Honor to Duvall as well as George Wheeler, Orville Smith, Benjamin Herlong, John McCarty and Truman Trotter.
Duvall served in the U.S. Army's famed 29th Infantry Division, which spearheaded "Operation Overlord" on June 6, 1944. Some 6,500 Americans died in the operation. On Friday, Duvall thanked those who served with him, as well as the French people for helping fight the Nazi menace.
"I think about them everyday," Duvall said. "I'm thankful for the people who helped us free their country."
Le Deunff, whose grandfather also died in WWII as a French Resistance fighter, bestowed unrestrained praise for the men.
"Gentlemen, you are heroes," Le Deunff said. "You will be our heroes forever. We the French will always remember what you did for us."
The presentation was held at the Westin Poinsett Hotel in downtown Greenville, in a ballroom filled with media and the group's family. Duvall remembers storming Omaha Beach as a day of chaos.
"It was just confusion," Duvall recalled. "No one knew anything. They actually thought about withdrawing and trying another beach. But the Navy really saved it."