A 90-year-old WWII veteran this month received the French Legion of Honor medal – France’s highest honor — 70 years after he aided an assault on a French farmhouse that was later revealed to be a high-value target.
Ed McAninch, who lives in Washington state, was badly wounded about 70 years ago during his time serving with the 398th Infantry Division, otherwise known as “The Sons of Bitche” – named for the German stronghold town.
McAninch told The Columbian newspaper that on Nov. 23, 1944, he helped provide cover during his division’s assault on a French farmhouse that was later revealed to be a high-value target. A few weeks after the Germans surrendered the house, McAninch suffered an injury to his leg after he was hit by shrapnel.
It could have been much worse, he told the paper.
McAninch recovered and used money from a law similar to a G.I. Bill to study medicine. He became a physician and retired about 25 years ago.
The Legion of Honor was founded by Napoleon Bonaparte to “recognize eminent accomplishments of service to France.”
Recently, the three Americans who helped stop a gunman on a high-speed train were presented the award by President Francois Hollande.
The New York Times reported that only French citizens can be members of the Order of the Legion of Honor even though foreigners can receive the medal.