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France honors former mayor in Georgia for WWII service

June 16, 2021 GMT

GROVETOWN, Ga. (AP) — A former mayor in Georgia has received a prestigious military honor from the government of France for his service during World War II.

Vincent Hommeril, the consul general of France in Atlanta, placed the Legion of Honor on 96-year-old Dennis Trudeau at a ceremony Friday in Grovetown, the Augusta Chronicle reports. Trudeau was once mayor of the city in eastern Georgia.

He also fought in Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, while serving in the Canadian army. He downplayed his service in remarks during the ceremony, saying the medal “belongs to those people still in Normandy.”

“I really don’t deserve it,” he said.

Veterans who were honorably discharged and fought in any of the four main campaigns to liberate France between June 6, 1944, and May 8, 1945 are eligible for the medal. Recipients are designated by France’s president, the Chronicle reports.

The ceremony to honor Trudeau was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hommeril said some veterans selected to receive the medal died during the pandemic.

“I’m personally very much touched and moved by what these veterans did to liberate my country,” Hommeril said.