Skip to main content

Osseo WWII veteran receives French Legion of Honor medal

  • Author:
  • Updated:

A 92-year-old World War II veteran from Osseo is officially a French hero nearly 70 years after he helped liberate the country from Nazi Germany, the Star Tribune reports.

Benny Arechiga was made a Knight of the Legion of Honor Sunday at the Coon Rapids VFW. The French government presents the medals to a select group of U.S. military veterans who risked their lives fighting in at least of one of three campaigns in the Liberation of France: Normandy, Provence/southern France or northern France during World War II.

Among the people honoring Arechiga at the ceremony was U.S. Sen. Al Franken, who called the veteran "part of the generation that literally saved the world."

"You helped liberate Europe and France from the grip of the Nazis," Franken told Arechiga at the ceremony. "You liberated France from the greatest enemy they or we have ever faced. You are a hero to me."

According to Roger Arechiga, his brother, Benny Arechiga not only drove a Sherman tank, but was a machine-gunner who fought in the Battle of the Bulge in the U.S. Army’s 493rd Field Artillery Battalion under the command of Gen. George Patton in 1944.

WCCO Radio says Franken pinned the medal on Benny Arechiga during the ceremony, and presented the veteran with an American flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol in his honor. More than 100 of Arechiga's family members reportedly attended the ceremony.

“It’s something that I do every once in a while and I’m so honored to do it,” Franken told the station after the ceremony.

WCCO Radio says Arechiga was born in El Paso, Texas, and lost his mother to tuberculosis as a young child. After that, he moved with his family to Fargo, North Dakota, to work in the sugar beet fields.

Arechiga did not speak during the ceremony.

Next Up

Hopkins Basketball

Hopkins suffers rare loss to No. 1 ranked Sidwell Friends

The Royals held their own in a battle of the nation's best.

argue-wertman booking photos

Charges: 2 teens responsible for violent carjacking spree across Twin Cities

They face a combined 31 felony counts, all tied to carjackings and related crimes.

rep nolan west mn house

MN rep. says he was 'assaulted' at activist group's public meeting

The Republican said a man grabbed his arms and yanked him from the room.

Screen Shot 2022-01-20 at 12.56.52 PM

What were the 'bizarre things' seen in Minnesota's sky?

The mysterious streaks were not UFOs and they weren't pieces of an asteroid.

icicles, freezing weather, cold weather

Booming noises in the night could be frost quakes

The loud sounds are most likely to happen during the middle of the night.

coronavirus, coronavirus test, covid-19

Free COVID testing site to open in St. Paul for 3 weeks

The federal testing site comes as demand for testing remains high.

Reyel Simmons photo 1 - complaint - crop

MN TikToker accused of faking federal agent life pleads guilty

He told his 10,000 followers he was a Homeland Security agent — authorities say it was a lie.


Report: Vikings request second interview with 2 GM candidates

Ryan Poles of the Chiefs and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah of the Browns.

Amaya Battle

Hopkins takes on No. 1 team in the country on ESPNU Friday

The game will feature a pair of top recruits in the Class of 2022.

st. paul federation of educators - teachers

Educators in Minneapolis, St. Paul could strike amid contract negotiations

Teachers and support staff are demanding smaller class sizes, mental health support and better pay.

turtinen two harbors

MN mayor in hot water for hawking $400M underwater hotel plan

The city council called a special meeting to discuss the mayor's public comments.