WDAY: The News Leader

Published November 11, 2010, 11:14 AM

Fargo native and WWII veteran is honored by the French Government

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It is a day we honor veterans, but for an 85-year old Fargo native and World War II veteran, he's also being honored by the French government.

Conrad "Connie" Newgren was a decorated war hero and Purple Heart recipient in the eyes of the U.S. Government. Now he has been named a Knight of the Legion of Honor, a decree issued by the President of France.

Conrad Newgren: "I didn't think they'd even pay any attention to a guy from Fargo, North Dakota, so it surprised the heck out of me."

Larry Graffis (nephew): "He can be proud of what he did and I'm very proud of him."

But for awhile, Newgren never thought he'd receive the award.

Newgren: "I never heard anything for months and months, so I'd given up on it, thought there ain't nothing going to come of this."

David Graffis (nephew): "When he first got that letter, he showed all of us. He seemed really, really proud and happy to get it."

The award didn't come without sacrifice. Newgren was injured in an explosion in France, fought several bouts of malaria and suffered a broken back in Germany.

"I had some loose change so I threw it in there, my wish was when this war was over I would still be alive. It must have worked."

With that wish still coming true to this day, Newgren can now add one more honor to his collection. Although most of his comrades have passed away, Newgren says his most cherished memories were the bonds he made with fellow soldiers.