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Resident of Chesterton of Symphony Receives French Legion of Honor


Anthony Condeni, 96, was recently awarded the French Legion of Honor for his time in the U.S. Army, serving in World War II. The Legion of Honor is the highest award given by the French nation and was awarded for his extraordinary and brave achievements while in service.

During his 39 months in the service, Condeni helped liberate France from the Third Reich during the war. He was assigned to the 2nd Armored Division’s 348th Ordinance Depot, whose main mission was to transport vehicle parts to the front line of action. His unit fought in the Battle of the Hedgerows and helped capture Saint. Lo. He also fought in the Somme region of Northern France, Belgium, and finally in Germany.

June 6th was the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, the day Condeni went ashore at Omaha Beach in Normandy. To honor his actions years ago, he was presented the award during a ceremony at France’s consulate in Chicago on June 1.

“I can only describe it as an honor because those awards are given on special occasions,” he said. The award was a surprise and truly an honor, Condeni said, who heard that he was going to be recognized just earlier year.

Condeni was pinned with the medal by Consul General of France for the Midwest region, Vincent Floreani. Condeni entered the service at the age of 21 years old. He was living in a small town in Pennsylvania and had just met the woman he was going to be married to for 65 years.

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“She waited for me,” he said, staring at the picture of her taken at the young age of 21. “I left for the service and when I came back she was waiting for me. Can you believe that? A good-looking gal like that was waiting for me.”

Condeni moved to Chesterton about 55 years ago to work for U.S. Steel. He and his wife had four children. Condeni is now one of the residents at Symphony of Chesterton. The staff of the senior living apartments and suites were proud of Condeni’s achievements, they said.

In his room at the center, his jacket with the French Legion of Honor is hanging near his bed and family photos adorn the shelves and walls.

“It was an honor to receive it,” Condeni said. “It was nice.”

 

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