Local veteran receives France's highest award for valor

- It was a big honor for a World War II veteran. The vet who now calls Chester County home received France's highest award Thursday for his compassion.

"It's overwhelming. I can't describe."

Frank Horvath is happy and humbled to received France's highest award for valor during a ceremony at the Consul of France in Philadelphia.

The 95-year-old World War II veteran has received his share of honors from the U.S. Army, including the Purple Heart but this is extra special.

"My wife was French and I was in France a few times. Never thought I'd get an award from the French government, but I think they recognize what I did in saving lives, he said. "Rather then I could have easily ordered artillery, which would probably have killed most people there."

Horvath who served in the K Company's 331st infantry regiment, 83rd division landed on Omaha Beach in June of 1944. He recalls as a platoon leader during the Normany campaign he found himself confronting a concrete bunker. It was occupied by both Germans and French and Horvath knew innocent people's lives were on the line.

"My dad didn't want to shoot anybody. He wanted to spare the French citizens there, so he managed to take the German soldiers without any violence," his daughter Giselle Knoblauch said.

Horvath also received a bronze star from the U.S.Army for that compassionate war decision he made 73 years ago. He did wind up getting shot in the leg that fateful day and  spent four months recuperating in a hospital in England.

 

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