More than 65 years ago, countless soldiers from the United States gave their youth and in many cases their lives to help France and Western Europe escape the Nazi regime during World War II.
On Saturday, September 2nd, the French Government honored a Quincy native for those efforts.
KHQA's Jarod Wells was on hand as US Army Private First Class Harold Barkley was awarded the Legion of Honor Medal.
In October of 1943, 18 year old Harold Barkley was inducted into the United States Army. 67 years later, now 85, Barkley was awarded the highest honor the French government can give, the Legion of Honor Medal.
Harold Barkley said, "I am very proud, very proud."
From April 1944 to December 1945, Private First Class Harold Barkley of Company G, 38th Infantry battled for the freedom of France and Western Europe.
Barkley said, "I lost so many friends there. It's really hard."
It's those soldiers that Barkley says are the real heroes. His son, Cleve Barkley, has written a book detailing his fathers military history.
Cleve Barkley said, "This is an extremely proud moment, those veterans of World War II went through so much and this is France honoring those men who went through so much sacrifice for their country."
Many call it sacrifice, but Private First Class Harold Barkley sees it simply as duty.
Barkley said," I just did what I was supposed to do. I mean I never refused an order, I did the very best I could in any circumstance regardless of the cost."
Harold Barkley is originally from Quincy and now resides in Taylor, Missouri.
Prior to this award from the French Government, Barkley had received numerous prestigious awards from the American government including the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantry Badge and the Presidential Unit Citation just to name a few.