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Local WWII veteran John O’Boyle to be honored

BEMIDJI — A Bemidji man will be honored Wednesday for his dedicated services to France during World War II.

John O’Boyle, 91, of Bemidji, will be presented the National Order of the Legion of Honour from the French government in recognition for his services to the country during World War II.

Presenting the award Wednesday will be U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., at the Beltrami County Administration Building in the county board room starting at 9 a.m.

"I think the award is more important than the recipient," O’Boyle said. "I should say there are thousands of soldiers who are equally qualified to receive it."

Serving on the battlefield in the Normandy and Rhineland campaigns, then Pfc. O’Boyle was severely wounded at the Siegfried Line in September 1944. He was awarded the Purple Heart.

O’Boyle will be presented Wednesday with the Chevalier degree Legion of Honour, which is the highest of five degrees.

To be eligible for the Chevalier degree, a person must complete a minimum of 20 years of public service or 25 years of professional activity and receive eminent merits.

The National Order of Legion is the highest decoration in France and was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.