Stillwater veteran awarded France's highest military recognition

The nation of France awarded its highest recognition to a Minnesota veteran Wednesday.

It’s called the French Legion of Honor and the Consul General of France presented the medal to a Stillwater World War II veteran. In typical fashion of the greatest generation, the man told Fox 9 he was just doing his job.

They are the flags of two nations whose colors never clash, which is why this Frenchman came to Stillwater to honor an American.

“In serving his country, he served my country, but he also saved my country,” said Guillaume LaCroix, the French Consul General.

Robert Webber was just a kid from Minnesota in the U.S. Army and as a member of the Airborne’s 517th Parachute Regiment, he dropped into France and helped liberate the country from the Nazis.

France considers him a hero, which is why 73 years after the war ended, France came calling with a medal.

“I’m proud to own it,” said Webber. “I never expected anything like this, because I was just a soldier. I don’t figure myself as a hero. Nothing like that.” 

But France does. The medal came under the orders of French president Emmanuel Macron.

“Robert and his comrades and fellow servicemen and women came to our rescue,” LaCroix said. “He is a true American hero, but he is also a true French hero of two nations.” 

It was General MacArthur who said old soldiers never die. In this case, neither does gratitude.

“I am proud to wear it,” Webber said. “Real proud.”

Webber’s family worked for nearly two years toward getting him this recognition.

The French Consul General noted that the Legion of Honor was created by Napolean Bonapart in 1802, when Minnesota was still a French territory.