- In West-Palm-Beach
36 Americans Veterans received the Legion Medal of Honor in West Palm Beach
On the 20th of October 2008, 36 former American soldiers have been awarded the highest French distinction for their participation in French campaigns during World War II. With their closest friends and relatives, the Veterans came to the Ibis Golf and Country Club of West Palm Beach to receive the Legion of Honor Medal during a ceremony full of emotion.
The ceremony was organized by the Consulate General of France in Miami with the support of the Departement of Veterans Affairs Medical Center of West Palm Beach.
Philippe Vinogradoff, the Consul general of France in Miami, bestowed the prestigious medal on each veteran in the name of the President of the French Republic. Nicole Hirsh, Counsellor at the Assembly of French Nationals Abroad and Representative of the American Society of the French Legion of Honour along with the two lieutenant-colonels Théus and Vivier attended the ceremony.
The green and white five-branch medal rewards the Veterans who were part of at least one of the four most strategic campaigns taking place during this war: the Bulge battle, the invasions of the South and the Normandy, and the battle of the Rhine. Many of these war heroes had already major awards like the French “Croix de Guerre”, or the American “Prisoner of War”. Some of them have even participated to the liberation of French cities, like Norman Levenson who was there when Brest was freed.
The evocation of such memories reminds us the historical links tying France and the United States of America.
Almost 60 years later, despite some health problems, all of these Veterans keep on sharing the same values: honor and courage and they still have a slight touch of humour hidden behind all the impressive symbols reminding their bravery.
“Vive la France!” said one of them in a shaky voice, while receiving the medal with the ritual words: “In the name of the President, we make you a Knight in the order of the Legion of Honor…”
- In Tampa
16 American Veterans received the French Legion of honour medal in Oldsmar
Philippe Vinogradoff, Consul General of France in Miami, bestowed the prestigious French medal on 16 American WWII soldiers on the 25th of November. All of them live in the Tampa area.
Along with Gilles Lemoine, General of the Air force and Lieutenants-colonels Théus and Vivier, the Consul conferred the title of “Chevalier” to all of them, in the name of the French President. Nicole Hirsch, Counsellor at the Assembly of French Nationals Abroad and Representative of the American Society of the French Legion of Honour, was also here to bestow the medals.
The ceremony took place at the East Woodlands Country Club, Oldsmar, and 60 guests attended. Thanks to the precious support of Jean-Charles Faust, Honorary consul of France in Tampa and President of the FRAMCO (French-American Business Council of West Florida), its Vice-president Rose-Marie Griby and with the help of Essilor of America, these former soldiers were rewarded for their heroic actions in the presence of their families.
With this medal, which is also the highest distinction that can be awarded to a French citizen or a foreigner, France recognises the value of their commitment. As the Consul said, “nobody deserves the Legion of honour more than these American heroes who fought for the freedom of my country ».