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Fincastle man receives French "Legion of Honor" for service in WWII

Robert Homrich served on a B-17 during the liberation of France

ROANOKE, VA – A Fincastle man received France's highest military honor Monday evening.

Robert Homrich is a World War Two veteran and now a recipient of the Legion of Honor.

France is the only country in the world that offers its highest military honor to service members outside of its own military, and Monday night, Homrich received that honor at a ceremony in Roanoke, more than 70 years after his own service.

To an international crowd of hundreds of military veterans and their families, Homrich was a hero.

"We flew 33 missions over Europe," said Homrich.

Those missions were as a gunner in a B-17 Bomber. Homrich was part of the liberation of France from German occupation.

"The allies did a marvelous job in fighting in Europe, and I feel great that I could help," said Homrich.

Event organizer Bernard Marie says, the only reason France is free today is because of men like Homrich.

"We have never forgotten these heroes, never never never," said Marie.

Marie has made sure more than 250 World War Two veterans in Virginia have received the Legion of Honor since 2004, and as a symbol of that enduring gratitude, Monday evening, Homrich joined those esteemed few.

"The liberation of France and Europe is, it's a huge effort that they made, and France is very happy and very honored to honor these veterans," said French Major General Vincent Cousin.

It's an honor that even seven decades later, Homrich says, he is proud to wear.

"It's a great honor, to be honored by the French government," said Homrich.

Tuesday morning, the French military delegation will continue to honor american service members who fought in World War Two at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford County.