CINCINNATI -- Several schools gathered Friday to honor local veterans for Saturday's Veterans Day, and to one veteran's surprise, he received France's highest military honor.
Frank Buschmeier is a World War II veteran who was a prisoner of war. Col. Brad Wenstrup, a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives, bestowed the French Legion of Honour Medal upon him at Friday's ceremony at Archbishop McNicholas High School.
"His story is truly phenomenal and engulfs all that was about World War II," Wenstrup said.
Buschmeier's story began in 1923 when he was drafted into the Army Air Corps, now called the Air Force. He was the left waist gunner in a B-17 as a part of the 100th bomb group known as "The Bloody Hundredth."
"I loved it. It was the best damn airplane in the Air Corps," Buschmeier said.
He survived an attack while flying to an oil plant in Germany -- only to be captured and held as a POW for nine months until the war ended.
"I thank God for my career in the Air Corps," Buschmeier said. "It was great flying with these guys -- greatest bunch of guys in the Air Corps."
Wenstrup reminded the audience that each veteran has an individual story unique to him or her.
"I think it's refreshing for a lot of veterans when they can tell their story," Wenstrup said. "A lot of times people go up to veterans and say, 'Thanks for your service.' Ask them their story because I think it means a lot to them when you ask them what they went through."