JC veteran receives Legion of Honor Medal

'Your courage shaped the world for the better'

Carol Pendleton, oldest daughter of Ray Herigon, photographs her father with the medal he just received. The World War II veteran was presented the French Legion of Honor medal by Jim Mauzé, the honorary consul of France in St. Louis.

Carol Pendleton, oldest daughter of Ray Herigon, photographs her father with the medal he just received. The World War II veteran was presented the French Legion of Honor medal by Jim Mauzé, the honorary consul of France in St. Louis. Photo by Julie Smith.

Veteran Ray Herigon on Tuesday was awarded the Legion of Honor Medal, the highest honor awarded for service in France.

Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel and Honorary French Consul Jim Mauzè presented the award to the Jefferson City man for his heroic service during World War II. He was honored Tuesday during a ceremony in the Governor’s Office.

“Seventy years ago next month, tens of thousands of American troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, an invasion that led to the liberation of France, and ultimately, to the end of the war in Europe,” Zweifel said. “For almost a year, Ray Herigon was stationed abroad to fight against tyranny and oppression, and he is with us today to be recognized for his courageous service.”

Herigon is a 1941 graduate of Meta High School, who following graduation, went to work in a projectile factory. He joined the Army in 1943 and first saw combat in Normandy with the 42nd Field Artillery, HQ Battery. The battery fought forces in France, Germany, Holland and Luxembourg. During the Battle of the Bulge, Herigon was a forward artillery observer. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his valor during the war. He was discharged from the Army in 1945.

Mauzè, of St. Louis, said France has been living in peace for nearly 70 years because of courageous men like Herigon.

“Your courage shaped the world for the better,” Mauzè said of the men. “The French and American people owe you their freedom.”

During Tuesday’s ceremony, Herigon told friends, family and lawmakers that he’s honored to accept the award.

“I was just a plain old, country-fed farm boy,” Herigon said of his time in the Army. “It’s an honor and privilege to be recognized with this group.”

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