Mason City, IA – For Arthur Gratias the choice to serve his country was an easy one.
“It’s a responsibility that I had. The government was in trouble and they drafted people and I was in there drafted,” said Gratias.
Through out his service, Gratias was present at some places most would recognize, including the D-Day invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge.
And those 25 months spent in Europe, left him with some memories he won’t ever forget.
Another memory he won’t forget is when he received two letters in the mail just months ago.
“In fact I got two letters in December the same day one from the ambassador of France and one from the general council and congratulated me, they said the president of France had named me the recipient of the legion of honor,” said Gratias.
And today, Gratias is receiving that honor.
Colonel Steven Altman is helping with the medal presentation, and says it’s an honor to even participate in the ceremony.
“This is absolutely the first time I’ve been involved in this award and it is so neat to present it really a living treasure,” said Altman.
Altman says Gratias’s time served is one many will remember.
“His service in WWII really set the foundation and allowed us the liberties that we have and I’m so grateful to be able to follow and serve in his footsteps,” said Altman.
Gratias says his favorite part about the ceremony was the large turnout he received.
“People that are here and seeing the out pour of people and I can just see the love the people have and I have for them too,” said Gratias.
When asked for a word of advice on living a life-like he has, Gratias has a simple answer.
“To me service is very important. I would encourage anybody to do that not what you can get. i find more satisfaction in doing things then what you get but I’ve been blessed in the meantime doing that,” said Altman.