Valdosta veteran recognized by France's highest honor

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By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
April 11, 2019

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- A Valdosta World War II veteran has been bestowed France's highest award, the French Legion of Honor, on Thursday.

The day was decades in the making for George Aigen and his family. All throughout the ceremony, there was not a dry eye in the house.

It takes a special kind of person to bring together so many people who all came to show their love, support and appreciation for his service.

"It's really meant to recognize outstanding individuals, French or foreign, and for American veterans it's an amazing honor for us," said Louis De Corail, a French Consulatee General.

"One of the most incredible days of my life," said Aigen's daughter, Judy Hathcock. "It just filled my soul and gave me so much meaning and purpose."

Aigen was drafted in 1944 and was among the first solders to liberate the Dachau Concentration Camp.

"It's really something that we should all learn about and we should all remember," said De Corail. "This is a way to remember them and say thank you."

Now 93-years-old, Aigen has spent the last decade sharing his story so the truth of World War II is never forgotten.

And now, neither will his legacy.

"He's always been our hero and now today, he's officially everybody's hero and we can share him with the world and the country as a hero for everybody," Hathcock said.

Judy says she wants everyone to know that her father has been the most loving and supportive father, is strong and continues to fight.

Other notable Americans to have been honored with the Legion of Honor are former president Dwight D. Eisenhower and U.S. General Douglas MacArthur.