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France to honor local veteran

POSTED: May 26, 2010 4:00 a.m.
Frank Reddy Dawson Community News/

World War II veteran Walter Victor displays the letter he received from the French Consul General. The government will award him the Legion of Honor on Thursday for his military service.

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In a ceremony Thursday, one of France’s highest-ranking officials will recognize a Dawson County man for his military service in World War II.


French Consul General Pascal Le Deunff will award Walter Victor, 92, the Legion of Honor on behalf of his country.


The event will take place at the consul general’s office in Atlanta.


Victor said he’s “thrilled” to be picked for the accolade.


“I was excited to find out about it,” Victor said. “It’s been a long time since Normandy, but it means a lot to me that they’re doing this. They still remember.”


Victor served as a gunsmith with the 9th Infantry Division during World War II.


Then in his mid-20s, Victor landed at Utah Beach on D-Day. In total, he spent nearly three years in combat.


According to an April 30 letter from the Consul General of France, the French government wishes to honor Victor “in recognition of your noble contribution … and in remembrance of those who sacrificed their lives for the cause.”


The Legion of Honor medal will join the decorated veteran’s other military awards, which include eight Combat Stars and four Bronze Stars.


In addition, Victor was later recognized with four Department of the Army Suggestion awards while working as a civilian at Fort Gillem.


Injured in combat, Victor walks with a slow gait from the shrapnel in his leg, which he said is a constant reminder of “how very dangerous war can be.”


His military service notwithstanding, the Pennsylvania native may be better known for his coverage of the Atlanta Braves.


Beginning in 1966, Victor served as the baseball club’s official photographer for more than 40 years.


Now retired, he took nearly 20,000 photographs chronicling “America’s team.”


Braves memorabilia and photos line the walls of his home. They are outnumbered only by the various patriotic emblems, flags and medals.


“I’m proud to have served this country,” Victor said. “It’s a great country, and it was worth it being on the front lines.”


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