Lebanon's Marler among five to receive Legion of Honor Medal
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 United States Southeast, Denis Barbet, will bestow the Legion of Honor upon five World War II veterans from Tennessee during a ceremony that will be held at the Tennessee State Capitol on Oct. 1.
The veterans who will receive the award are: Elmer E. Marler of Lebanon, Technician Fifth Grade, Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 393rd Infantry Division; Charles R. Warren Jr. of Sparta, Staff Sergeant, 510th Bombardment Squadron, 351st Bombardment Group; James E. Collins of Kingsport, Private First Class, Battery B, 183rd Field Artillery Battalion; Melvin E. Kallio of Oak Ridge, Private First Class, Headquarters Company, 17th Armored Infantry Battalion, 12th Armored Infantry Division; and Boyd Lewis of Johnson City, Private First Class, Company H, 142nd Infantry, 36th Infantry Division.
Created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the National Order of the Legion of Honor is the highest honor conferred upon a French or foreign national in France. 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.
The Legion of Honor ceremony will be held on Thursday, Oct. 1 from 11 a.m. until noon at the Tennessee State Capitol.