Mt. Vernon Register-News

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May 27, 2014

Local veteran receives French Legion of Honor

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Lewis entered the U.S. Army after graduating high school in around 1943. He served overseas for roughly two-and-a-half years.

While serving, Lewis was part of a group of soldiers tasked with moving ammunition, food and other supplies by truck from Palermo, Italy, to the front lines in Germany, he said. He also was involved in railroad supply missions.

Lewis said one of his most vivid memories from the war was helping German children and other civilians who had been injured in a Nazi time bomb explosion that went off in Munich, Germany.

For his role in that rescue, Lewis was awarded a Soldier’s Medal for Bravery in Munich.

Lewis also remembers being present for the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp in 1945.

“When we went through there, they had little railroad cars and they had these people in these cars that they was getting ready to take them in to cremate them,” Lewis said.

Lewis earned the rank of Private First Class. He was awarded seven combat stars after the war.

White said honoring World War II veterans is vital given the fact they are passing away rapidly.

“It’s important for the public to know,” White said. “The Greatest Generation is dwindling by over 3,000 a day, by virtue of the fact that they’re (in their) late 80s, early 90s, mid 90s. And so what we try to do is highlight these special events, talk about their careers and make the public aware of the Greatest Generation.”

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