Local World War II veteran Jim Spenst was presented with the Legion of Honour by the French ambassador to Ottawa. 

The Legion of Honour is awarded to people who served in World War II and helped liberate France.

It is considered one of France's highest honours, and can only be bestowed on people who are still living.  

"This is a nice day for me, and it was an extraordinary opportunity," said French Ambassador Michel Miraillet. "It's very symbolic. The French have not forgotten what the Canadians did during the First World War or during the Second World War."

Spenst was 17 when he enlisted in the war. He was inspired by his brother who was overseas at the time.  

Spenst landed in France in July 1944 and stayed until the liberation. He was then enlisted in the Canadian occupying forces in Germany. Spenst was discharged from his military duties in March 1946. 

"To see him be recognized today in getting the Legion of Honor Medal. It's one of France's highest ceremonial medals, and I think that it's tremendous for France to recognize the great work that our veterans do," said Souris-Moose Mountain MP Robert Kitchen.

Spenst has worked with local Legion branches to continue to celebrate the legacy of Canadian veterans. 

French and Canadian officials will meet in Normandy in June to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the liberation of France.

Spenst was proud to receive the Legion of Honour nearly 80 years after he left Saskatchewan for France and celebrated the night with his first glass of French champagne.

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