On Wednesday, it was reported that without obtaining his permission, North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp had used an image of a World War II veteran and the story of how she had honored him.
In 2017, Lynn Aas of Minot, North Dakota, was presented with the Legion of Honor, France’s highest honor, by the president of France. As The Minot Daily News reported, Aas said, “I was flabbergasted, and I was very humbled and appreciative.” French Consul General Vincent Floreani wrote:
Through this award, the French government pays tribute to the soldiers who did so much for France and Western Europe. 73 years ago, you gave your youth to France and the French people. Many of your fellow soldiers did not return but they remain in our hearts. Thanks to your courage and to our American friends and allies, France and Europe have been living in peace for the past seven decades. You saved us. We will never forget. For us, the French people, you are a hero. Gratitude and remembrance are forever in our souls.
Aas stated, “This is an acknowledgment to those who actually participated in the war itself, like those who carried a machine gun, carried a rifle or were in the belly of a B-17. They were on the front line. There aren’t many of them alive that walked from Bastogne up to the German line and slept in the snowbank for 50 days. I happen to be one of those people.”
Heitkamp helped present the award in 2017. But then she posted this on Facebook recently, along with a picture of Aas:
In 2017, I was honored to help present the French Legion of Honor award to Lynn Aas for his service in France in WWII. Lynn joined the military when the U.S. entered WWII and exceled in both his training and on the field. He was on the front lines in Belgium and Germany and did everything he could to protect our nation. Lynn received the Purple Heart after being injured in Germany and the Bronze Star for his efforts during battles around Bastogne and in the Ardennes during the harsh winter months. When Lynn returned to North Dakota, he continued his education at UND where he earned a law degree before working for the IRS for 10 years. Lynn’s accomplishments and contributions to our state go all the way back to his involvement in the North Dakota Constitutional Convention of 1972, and include many terms in the state legislature, chairing organizations and helping promote North Dakota and the Minot area any way he can.
David Aas, Lynn’s son, stated, “Lynn is not happy that Heidi did this. We have posted a comment requesting that it be taken down. Lynn wants to make it clear that no one from the Heitkamp campaign contacted him to ask for permission for this, and he does not want this to be viewed as an endorsement of her campaign.”
Heitkamp has come under fire for her campaign divulging the names of domestic violence survivors without their permission.