(Photos by Mark Harrington)

Not one, but two grateful nations spoke about Enoch “Nick” Scull Jr.

Before a standing room only crowd at the Plano American Legion, at times, between a few tears, it was a handshaking red, white, and blue day for the Scull family and Nick.

Scull, a longtime Plano resident now living in Sandwich, was the recipient of the Legion of Honor medal from France, that country’s highest honor. Consul General of France Guillaume Lacroix spoke about the award.

Scull, who is age 95, served the United States as an Army Combat Engineer during World War II.  He was there for the historic pivotal battles of Normandy and The Battle of the Bulge. During four months, he was a prisoner of war.

Now Nick Scull joins an elite group such as President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, George C. Marshall, Chester Nimitz, George Patton and Colin Powell, even Audie Murphy, the most decorated World War II soldier.

During his speech, Lacroix spoke about his country’s gratitude, calling Scull a hero, and he spoke about never forgetting those who served and helped liberate the French people.

Out of school for the ceremony were his great grandchildren, a history lesson before them; Lacroix calling them, "the last generation that may be able to extend handshakes for world peace."

Besides the Plano American Legion, where Scull has been a member for 73 years, there were legion members from Oswego, Sandwich, Yorkville, and Aurora. Federal, state, and local government officials gave accolades. This is the Head of Illinois Veterans Affairs Linda Chapa La Via speaking.

During World War II, Plano had 323 men and women serve in the military, approximately 17 percent of the town population.  Of those, fifteen were killed during the war. In a handwritten note, Scull said he wanted to honor and remember all in service to the two countries.

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