Plaquemines Parish WWII vet awarded French Legion of Honor

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wwltv.com

Posted on June 6, 2014 at 6:13 PM

Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

Winnie Ancar from Diamond in Plaquemines Parish sat with 16 other veterans receiving the French Legion of Honor Medal.

"Oh, it's a big honor, it's an honor to me," said Ancar. "It's an honor, it's an honor for me to get that medal because you see I could speak the language."

During World War Two, speaking French turned Winnie into an Army translator.

"When I got in the landing barge, I was the third man off when it hit ground, walking to the bank, and met the women and children along the road, I asked (in French) for some water please, she said mama he can speak French."

But last November he shared bad memories of returning to America, when he said white soldiers were allowed ashore to party while black GIs were kept aboard ship.

"We could hear the noise and everything going on. They waited until midnight to let us off. Midnight, OK men, the bus is waiting to take you to your separation center."

But those feelings began to change when Winnie Ancar and his family heard about the Legion of Honor medals. He didn't know what to do, so they emailed the Action Line, and we got in touch with the French Consulate.

"I remember when we had this interview in my office," said French Consul General Jean Claude Brunet.

On the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Winnie Ancar became a Knight of the Legion of Honor.

"To see Winnie Ancar receiving, together with his comrades, the Legion of Honor, the highest French honor," said Consul Brunet.

"Oh, it's an honor," said Ancar. "It means a lot."

"I greeted him just now, and he responded in French," smiled Brunet.

And Winnie Ancar found himself being treated like a hero, even signing autographs.

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