MASON CITY, Iowa - Arthur Gratias was present during many of the significant battles during World War II, including the June 6, 1944 D-Day invasion of Normandy and the battle of the Bulge.
Two months ago, Gratias received a letter from the French government that said it was awarding him the Legion of Honor for his service in the war. On Friday during a special ceremony, he received the award.
"His service in WWII really set the foundation and allowed us the liberties that we have and
I'm so grateful to be able to follow and serve in his footsteps," said Colonel Stevens Altman, U.S. Army, who presented the award on behalf of the French government.
"To me service is very important," Gratias said. "I would encourage anybody to do that not what you can get. I find more satisfaction in doing things then what you get but I've been blessed in the meantime doing that."
The Legion of Honor is an award that dates back to the time of Napoleon. It is the highest military honor bestowed on an individual by the French government.
Gratias spent 25 months overseas during the war. During much of that time he was in France.