3 Oklahoma veterans receive French Legion of Honor

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Three Oklahoma World War II veterans are now recipients of the French Legion of Honor. They were celebrated Wednesday at the 45th Infantry Museum in a meaningful day - decades in the making.

"Time is fleeting and here I am anyway, the recipient of the award I never thought I'd receive," said Captain Jacques Delier, one of the honorees receiving the Legion of Honor award from Alexis Andres, the Consul General of France.

"Since its creation, the award has remained the highest, most prestigious decoration in France," Andres said.

In 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte created the honor for those who achieved great things in helping liberate France.

Two of the honorees were on hand to receive their award.

Sadly, one passed away just two weeks prior to the ceremony.

"We all miss him," said his son, Dan Bickerstaff.

Robert H. Bickerstaff, better known as 'Bob,' was a small arms weapon mechanic. Among his accomplishments - a time that his unit captured 49 German prisoners.

Robert's family said he was tough as nails.

"Only one of the few I knew that would go to the dentist, and not have it deadened - and tell the dentist when to stop and when to fill it," said his son, William Bickerstaff.

Robert's family said he was always on the go - even right before he died at 99 years young.

"Mid-August, he took my son and took him fishing in Alaska," William said.

Purple Heart recipient Captain Jacque Delier also received the honor. During his time with the Air Force, he completed 65 combat missions flying B-26 bombers.

"With the help of the French government, we were able to conquer bad things that happened many years ago," Delier said.

"We ought to be glad that we're in this country," said recipient Joe Guerrero.

Guerrero served in the Battle of the Bulge and was later wounded by a sniper in Holland. He's got some great stories from times he guarded the Eiffel Tower, but perhaps his favorite memory from his service was meeting the queen of England.

"I went down there, and I asked her 'You dancing?' and she said 'No,'" he said.

There was no dance, but Guerrero did get a handshake. He said many often doubt his story.

"It happened," Guerrero said.

But, one thing's for sure - the honor Guerrero and the two other great veterans have now received will live on in history.

2018 marks 100 years since the World War I armistice.

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