TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Tucsonan and World War Two veteran, received on Thursday, April 11, the National Order of The Legion of Honor in the rank of Chevalier (Knight), the highest award of merit that France awards to citizens and foreign nationals.
99-year-old Margarito S. Ramirez received his award in a private ceremony on Thursday, at the American Legion Morgan McDermott, Post 7. It was presented by the Honorable Christophe Lemoine, Consul General of France in Los Angeles.
Ramirez was born in February 1920 in Gleason, AZ, 87 miles southeast of Tucson in Cochise County. He entered active duty with the U.S. Army in January 1942, completing basic training in March and landing on Omaha Beach, Normandy, France on D-Day - June 6, 1944 as a rifleman with the 47th Armored Infantry Battalion of the 5th Armored Division. Also serving in the Northern France and Central Europe campaigns, before he was injured near Bergstein, Germany in December 1944 while defending a bridge.
He was sent to Hoff General Hospital in Santa Barbara, California, where he was discharged in June 1945, as a result of his injuries. His significant awards include the Purple Heart Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, and the EAME Campaign Medal with two battle stars.
After the war, he returned to his family farm and later worked as a heavy equipment operator. Margarito and Belia, his wife of 76 years, live in Tucson, and have three sons, three daughters, 14 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
Ramirez inspired his family to a legacy of national service with one son, two grandsons, one great-grandson, and one great-granddaughter all serving in the U.S. Army.