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101-year-old World War II veteran receives French government’s highest honor

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101-year-old Ernest Scango is the last living member of his Army Parachute Infantry, and he’s receiving the French government’s highest honor for his bravery during World War II.

Scango got a hero’s welcome at Sunflower Springs Assisted Living Community in Homosassa. He’s among the greatest generation of soldiers who helped free France from Nazi occupation in World War II.

Scango is among the few who came home.

Ernest Scango fought in WWII.

“You made a friend one day and the next day they were gone,” recalled Scango. “I had a 1st lieutenant come up to us one day. The next morning, where is he? Gone.”

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Scango is the last living member of the U.S. Army’s 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion who fought in the legendary Battle of the Bulge in World War II. The battle was successful but costly.

“Brave men and soldiers were stacked into a truck like logs. Because they were dead. They were frozen. I never forget them,” Scango explained. “It is a privilege for me to express the gratitude of my country and to highlight the essential role you play during World War II.”

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Raphael Trapp, Consul General of France, said after all these years, Scango is being honored by the French government for his bravery and dedication to the cause.

Raphael Trapp shakes Scango’s hand.

Trapp traveled here from Miami to deliver the honor.

“Mr. Scango, 80 years ago, you and your brothers in arms left your country and risked your lives in the name of freedom,” said Trapp. “You fought for life, liberty and the fundamental values that hold two countries, France and the U.S., so dearly.”

Scango is receiving the Legion d’Honneur, the highest distinction recognizing exceptional service to France. He is also being inducted as a knight, the highest honor.

The Legion d’Honneur is the highest distinction recognizing exceptional service to France.

“I am flabbergasted. I just can’t believe that little old me got this wonderful thing. And thank you,” Scango said.

“I am deeply honored to fulfill one of my most important duties,” said Trapp. “To pay tribute to a war hero who came to France shores to liberate my country from a barbarian occupation.”

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