MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — At a ceremony in Coon Rapids Sunday, U.S. Senator Al Franken pinned the Knight of the Legion of Honor medal on 92-year-old Benny Arechiga.
“It’s something that I do every once in a while and I’m so honored to do it,” Franken said after the ceremony.
The medal is the highest honor of its kind given by the French government.
Arechiga, who was born in El Paso, Texas, saw action in France as part of the U.S. Army 493rd Field Artillery Battalion in 1944.
His mother died of TB when he was a young boy. After that, his family moved to Fargo, N.D. to work in the beet fields.
Arechiga has three brothers, all of whom went to fight in World War II.
“Three came back, but one of the brother’s was lost,” Franken said.
Arechiga had more than 100 members of his family at the ceremony in the Coon Rapids VFW. Arechiga’s grandson, Mike Nordstrom of Anoka was the master of ceremonies.
Franken also presented Arechiga with an American Flag he had flown over the U.S. Capitol in Arechiga’s honor.