France honors 16 WWII veterans with the Legion of Honor in Daytona Beach
“You are all heroes. France will never forget what you did,” said Gael de Maisonneuve, Consul general of France in Miami, during a special ceremony at the Museum of Art & Sciences on May 10, 2013.
All of the 16 recognized American veterans who fought for France’s freedom proudly received the Legion of Honor, the highest distinction that can be conferred in France.
Founded in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, persons granted this distinction include notable American figures like Thomas Edison, Dwight D. Eisenhower or Colin Powell, but also French personalities like Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas or Delacroix.
World War II veterans were introduced individually by the Consul, their biography read and the traditional sentence pronounced, “Au nom du Président de la République, nous vous faisons chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur,” which means in English “in the name of the President of the French Republic, I present you with the medal of knight of the Legion of Honour”.
Then, a white-enamelled double-cornered star insignias was pinned on their shirt.
Family and friends attended this moving ceremony where some tears were shed.
Veterans who already had received their medals were also glad to be there.
The French government continues to search former soldiers who served in France and other ceremonies are yet to come.
Article published on May 16, 2013.