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Utah World War II Veteran receives French Legion of Honor

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – A Utah World War II veteran received an international honor Saturday. 91 year Emanuel “Mike” Kladis was awarded France’s highest honor.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – A Utah World War II veteran received an international honor Saturday. 91 year Emanuel “Mike” Kladis was awarded France’s highest honor.

Saturday Utah veteran Kladis received some big recognition. Inside Salt Lake's Masonic temple, a representative of France awarded Kladis the French Legion of honor.

"It's wonderful to get it. I'm lucky, I'm lucky to be here," said Emanuel “Mike” Kladis, World War II veteran.

Kladis served in U.S. army's 30th Infantry unit during World War II. His unit was there during D-day and the Battle of the Bulge. Kladis drove the weapons and supply truck.

"I took food to soldiers on the front line," he said.

"Basically on d-day they put him in his truck swung it out over the surf, dropped him in, and told him when you hit the bottom start driving," said “Jimmie” Miller, Ret. Lt. Col., U.S. Air Force.

"So many of them did so many things, that no body ever knew about it," said Nell Bright, World War II veteran.

Because of their bravery the other members of Kladis’ unit, have already received the same award. But Kladis never thought his service wasn't anything to brag out.

"I finally had to convince mike that he should do this, by telling him the next big event in his life, he's not going to enjoy quite as much,” said Miller.

Now, his friends and piers are pleased France is recognizing him now too.

"This is the highest honor they can give them this is the same award they gave to General Eisenhower at the end of the war," Miller said.

If you ask Kladis, he's still doesn't want to brag about it, but he's happy receive the honor.

"I’ve waited a long time for this," said Kladis.

Kladis served between October 1942 to 1945. He was born in Granger, and grew up in Salt Lake area.

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Follow Brian Carlson on Twitter: @tv_briancarlson
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