100-Year-Old WWII Veteran Receives French Legion of Honor Award at Navy Yard Chapel

by Navy Yard
March 18, 2024

Categories: History,

Explore Categories

A local veteran received recognition for his service during World War II in an award ceremony held at the Chapel of Four Chaplains at the Navy Yard on March 18.

Benjamin Berry, a Willow Grove native, received the French Legion of Honor during a ceremony attended by his family, local veteran groups, and representatives from the French government.

Berry, who is now 100 years old, served as a corporal in the U.S. Army during World War II – most notably during the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp – added this award to his long list of awards and recognition.

Berry was raised in Willow Grove and drafted into the Army in 1943 after graduating from Abington Senior High School where he was one of only three African Americans in his class. After his service, he returned to the region and raised a family of four with his wife in Germantown.

The National Order of the Legion of Honor, formerly the Royal Order of the Legion of Honor, is the highest French order of merit, both military and civil. Established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, it has been retained by all later French governments and regimes.

Perry joins a list of distinguished Americans to receive the honor including James Baldwin, Dwight Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, George Patton, and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Explore Categories