Decorated WWII veteran to receive French Legion medal

France’s highest order of benefit for army and civil deserves shall be bestowed on a Bartholomew County man subsequent month.

When the Legion of Honor is introduced in Kansas Metropolis, Charles B. “Purple” Whittington will be a part of the ranks of distinguished People akin to Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Colin Powell to obtain the distinguished award.

The ninety five-yr-previous World Struggle II veteran is scheduled to be adorned as a Knight of the French Nationwide Order of the Legion of Honor on Sept. 9.

American veterans who risked their lives throughout World Warfare II and who fought on French territory qualify for the honour, in accordance with the French embassy in Washington, D.C. However recipients should have fought in one of many 4 important campaigns of the Liberation of France: Normandy, Provence, Ardennes or Northern France, the embassy’s web site states.

After sustaining numerous minor wounds over a 3-week interval, Whittington was significantly injured by artillery shrapnel that introduced his fight days to an finish. He spent the subsequent 9 months in hospitals in England and stateside earlier than he was allowed to return to Bartholomew County.

Collectively together with his spouse, the late Glenna Whittington, the St. Louis Crossing native established a level of monetary independence by means of each property improvement and agribusiness. The daddy of three continued to serve his group as a faculty bus driver and rural mail service till his 1984 retirement.

Whereas retaining most of his wartime experiences to himself, Whittington has been honored with a Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, the Fight Infantryman Badge, The European Marketing campaign Medal with two Bronze Stars, Good Conduct Medal and Victory Medal.

However Whittington considers his fellow surviving army comrades probably the most valuable reminders of that distinctive interval of his life.

“I owe my life to them,” Whittington stated in a 2015 interview.

That angle exemplifies the World Conflict II veteran’s conviction that the very best honors ought to be reserved for many who made the last word sacrifice in each army battle, stated granddaughter Kristin Whittington, who serves on the ninety fifth Affiliation Basis board of administrators.

However, the Legion of Honor is a singular honor for her grandfather as a result of it is the very best recognition from one other nation, she stated.

After attending division reunions for a number of many years, Whittington made the primary of three journeys again to Metz, situated within the northeast area of Lorraine, in 1994.

Whittington has used these journeys to pay respect to fallen comrades with visits to the Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial close to Saint-Avold. It’s Europe’s largest U.S. World Warfare II army cemetery, containing the graves of 10,489 American troopers.

On June 20, 2014, Whittington and different survivors of his division gathered in Columbus to rejoice the dedication of a bridge of their honor: The Iron Males of Metz Memorial Bridge throughout Clifty Creek on U.S. 31.

5 months later, the Bartholomew County native made what he stated can be his final journey to France, the place he additionally visited the the Normandy American Cemetery and the Omaha Seashore Memorial, greater than 300 miles west of Metz.

Whittington was honored on the American Legion in Columbus on Aug. 7, the seventy fifth anniversary of his enlistment.

A replica of the letter from the French Consul to Whittington, notifying him that approval had been given for this award, and a photograph of the Legion of Honor medal, have been made obtainable so that folks might see what the award is and what the medal seems like.

Earlier than the celebration, individuals in attendance joined in a minute of silence — adopted by the enjoying of faucets — to honor the last word sacrifice of U.S. Military Sgt. Jonathan Hunter, the 23-yr-previous Columbus native who was killed in southern Afghanistan 5 days earlier.

“We stay in unsure occasions and, sadly, historical past retains repeating itself,” stated Don Barriger of the American Legion, who helped the Whittington household put together the nomination type for the popularity.

In the course of the occasion, State Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus, represented Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb in declaring Whittington as a distinguished member of the Circle of Corydon.

Honoring the primary state capitol of Indiana, the Circle of Corydon acknowledges Whittington for having “demonstrated, in life and in service to the individuals of the state of Indiana, the qualities exemplified by our state’s biggest residents.”


Supply: The (Columbus) Republic,


Info from: The Republic,

That is an AP-Indiana Change story provided by The (Columbus) Republic.

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