Local WWII veteran awarded with highest French honor

Local WWII Veteran awarded with highest French honor

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Charles Sehe is a rare breed in the sense that he served in World War II.

Not only was he there when Pearl Harbor was attacked, but he was also on the front lines at Normandy in France.

“I was assigned to the battleship Nevada,” said Sehe. “After the Pearl Harbor attack, I stayed on the Nevada. It’s the only major warship to go on both oceans, Atlantic and Pacific.”

French Midwest Consul General Guillaume Lacroix drove from Chicago to present Sehe with the Legion of Honor, the top honor one can receive from the French government.

The honor came about in 1802, originally introduced by Napoleon Bonapart, and must be approved by the French head of state before it can be bestowed upon anyone.

Charles' oldest daughter, Isabel, says while they never grew up hearing war stories, her father’s writings and poetry about his experiences really gave her perspective on the life her 97-year-old father has lived.

“His writing came about as therapy – for his war experiences – would be how this has evolved,” explained Isabel Sehe.

The application and approval process took a while, but the wait was worth it, as he now gets to represent his fallen comrades on this special day.

“I really feel honored and humbled to have this reception for me because it wasn’t just me. It was a group,” said Sehe. “The ones who really deserve it have passed on. I represent them, and on their behalf, I feel honored that this came about.”

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