LOS ANGELES (AP) — The French government is presenting its highest honors to 19 Southern Californians who served in World War II.

On Friday, the French consul general presented the veterans with the rank of knight in the National Order of the Legion of Honor. All of the men are in their 90s.

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A consulate spokeswoman said the award is the highest France gives its citizens or foreign nationals.

The veterans received the recognition during a ceremony on board the battleship USS Iowa, which is docked in the Port of Los Angeles.

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The veterans — many of them privates first class — already were highly decorated. All served in France during the war.

The eldest, Private First Class Felipe Rodriguez, Sr., is 96 years old.

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