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WINONA, Miss. (WCBI) – A Winona man is honored by the French Government almost seven decades after his World War II military service.

Humble and soft spoken are words used to describe Army Sergeant William Garrett.

For liberating the French from Nazi occupation, Garrett and three other Mississippians have received The French Legion of Honor Medal.

“Nothing special that I done to earn this metal, nothing special. If I deserve it, lots of, rest of them do too,” said Garrett.

Fighting in the cold, difficulty even finding a place to sleep were some of the sacrifices made by allied troops who when they arrived in France saw the devastation and jubilation of the French.

“We weren’t allowed to mix with the civilians, when we were going through. Its just hard to imagine how things were tore up,” said Garrett.

After France, Garrett spent a lot of time in Germany and got to view the concentration camps.

On Thursday (11/8) Garrett went over pictures he took of people liberated from those camps.

For Garrett, it meant old emotions coming to the surface some 68 years later.

And so for this World War Two veteran just doing his job, the French government is calling it service above and beyond the call of duty.

For those of us reaping the benefits of their sacrifices, the word hero comes to mind.

“I don’t, I don’t call myself a hero. After I got there, now there are lots of them before I got there that had a tough time,lot of them didn’t make it,” added Garrett.

Winona American Legion Post 52 and the Thomas Rodney Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution are hosting a Veterans Day program at the Montgomery County Courthouse Saturday 9:30 a.m.

Comment on this Story

  • Marilyn McDevitt

    What a hero. He is so humble, but yet changed so much for so many. A great role model for anyone. I’ve known this man all my life and I never knew this level of his sacrifice. He is always the one who encourages everyone else and downplays his own achievements. He is the most honest, loving, compassionate man I’ve ever known. Uncle William, you are MY hero!! Marilyn McKenzie McDevitt, Daphne, AL

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