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Belatedly, WWII earns vet another medal

Herbert Neumann painted the name of his new bride on an Army truck he used. They had been married weeks before his deployment. 1 / 3
World War II veteran Herbert Neumann (bottom) received the Liberty Medal, his third medal for his WWII service, and his first general's star from Army Brig. Gen. Gerald Matteson. Four of his five children, John Neumann (left), Jim Neumann, Mark Neumann and Jean Neumann, came to the event. 2 / 3
Herbert Neumann received two medals, one for service in the Battle of Normandy and one for service in the Battle of the Bulge, and on June 24, he received a third for his part in the Liberation of Paris.3 / 3

Toward the end of World War II, Paris was still under Nazi occupation, until one night, the United States Army snuck past Nazi lines. On Aug. 25, 1944, Paris was declared liberated.

“People were crazy happy,” John Neumann said, remembering what his dad had told him about the experience.  

His dad was one of the soldiers hunkered down in a vehicle with the lights off, driving five miles an hour, sneaking past the border.

“He never spoke too much about it,” John said, “other than everybody getting hugged and kissed and that type of stuff, and the cheering. They were treated like heroes.”

World War II hero Herbert Neumann was honored with the Liberty Medal for being part of the liberation of Paris. The medal ceremony occurred Monday, June 24,at the Lutheran Home where Neumann is a resident.

This is Neumann’s third World War II metal, but one his daughter thought was important and should have gotten years ago.

“He didn’t talk about the war very much until the last six years, and, obviously, it was time invested in his life, but it was just that he was part of the picture,” Jean Neumann said. “I’d like him to see the credit he deserves.”

Herbert Neumann rose to the rank of sergeant in World War II and served as a German translator to help re-establish governments in Allied Power ceased counties. He learned German as a child because his church services growing up were only in German until he was 12 years old.

For the complete story, see the June 27 print edition of the River Falls Journal.