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Rondyl Leftwich to receive honor from French Republic

Over 60 years have passed, but tomorrow, a Glasgow, KY, World War II veteran whose family roots run deep with the Leftwich and Scott families of Metcalfe County and the Turners of Adair County will be recognized with the presentation of the French Legion of Honor. This story by his sister is a brief chronicle of one family, nine children, the four sons who served in World War II, and the three months of family heartbreak when one son was wounded in one theatre of war, and then, 73 days later, from a world away from that scene and from their tranquil farm home outside Edmonton, KY - from the Philippines and the Pacific Theater of War - came word that a second son had died in battle. -EW

By Geneice Leftwich Marcum

A ceremony for World War II veteran Rondyl Leftwich is scheduled for at 2:00pmCT, Sunday, September 20, 2009, at the Leftwich House, Bowling Park, 1608 W. Stockton ST, Edmonton, KY.

The event is hosted by the Metcalfe County VFW Post 6281, Edmonton.

Rondyl Leftwich recently received the French Legion of Honor medal, awarded by the French Republic to World War II veterans for their valorous actions while fighting in German occupied France.

Rondyl, who now lives in Glasgow grew up on the farm adjoining Bowling Park, once the home of his grandparents, John Robert and Isabelle Leftwich. He was one of nine children - five daughters and four sons born to Walter and Addie Turner Leftwich.

He was the youngest of four sons who, before it ended, were all serving in World War II.

The older brothers were John Robert, Olney Russell, and Edward Ray, in that order.

From the day that his brother Ed left home to report for duty in the U.S. Army, Rondyl became a grumpy character because he lacked almost two years being 18, when he could join his brothers in the military. He even tried to talk our mother into signing for him to join the Army at seventeen.

She declined, though, with three sons already in uniform, she thought she had given enough, and so he had had to wait, still grumpy, lost and restless without his brothers, until finally, the morning of May 21st, 1944, his 18th birthday arrived.

This boy was actually waiting at the door of the local draft board when it opened that morning to volunteer for service in the U.S. Army!

After basic training and a brief furlough home with his folks, Rondyl's outfit shipped out for overseas duty. His parents had no idea where, nor did they know the whereabouts of two other sons, Russell and Ed, who had been overseas for several months already.

On March 3, 1945, they learned where their youngest son was located. A telegram message was delivered saying that Rondyl had been seriously wounded while fighting in France.

Less than two months later, another telegram came informing them that another son, Russell, had died in battle in the Philippines on May 15, 1945.

At the end of World War II, the three remaining Leftwich sons made it home at last.

Now some 60 years later, Rondyl has been awarded the French Legion of Honor, the most prestigious decoration in France.

It couldn't have happened to a more deserving person, but don't tell him I said that.

Everyone is invited to attend the ceremony to be held Sunday afternoon on the front porch of the Leftwich house at Bowling Park.

It seemed fitting that Rondyl should receive this award there, since this house was built by his grandparents around 1880.

I've always been proud of my four brothers' military service. They weren't aware of it, then, but actually they were following a family tradition of service to their country.

In the book called "The Leftwich-Turner Families of Virginia and Their Connections," published in 1931 by Walter L. Hopkins, he noted that the name Leftwich had been prevalent in all the wars fought by this country since the time of the militia, but little had ever been written about it.

Hopkins states that research of military records bear out the facts that this statement is true.

This story was posted on 2009-09-19 11:20:28
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Youngest of four Leftwich sons will receive
French Legion of Honor medal

2009-09-19 - Photo from Leftwich family archives.
Walter Rondyl Leftwich, left photo, the young Metcalfe County farm boy who could not wait to join this three brothers in military service in World War II, will be honored Sunday, September 20, 2009, with the presentation of the French Legion of Honor medal. Right photo Mr. Leftwich with his wife Ann, shown enjoying a night out at Barren River Lodge, Glasgow, KY, a few years ago at the reunion of Ann Leftwich's class at Edmonton High School.

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Leftwich House, Bowling Park

2009-09-19 - 1608 W. Stockton ST, Edmonton, KY - Photo by Linda Waggener.
The author of the accompanying article, Geniece Leftwich Marcum, is picture above on the steps of the Leftwich House, Bowling Park in Edmoton, after the house was remodelled a few years ago. Rondyl Leftwich, who will receive the French Medal of Honor at the location, lived at an adjoining farm owned by his parents, the late Walter and Addie Turner Leftwich, where he, Geniece, and seven other siblings, grew up.

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