Legion of Honor / July 14th : Ceremony in San Francisco

On July 14th, nine American WWII veterans were honored with the French Legion of Honor Medal, the highest honor bestowed in France. The ceremony took place at La Résidence de France in San Francisco. Check out speeches and pictures here.

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Legion of Honor ceremony / Speech of Pauline Carmona (Consul general of France in San Francisco)

«Ladies and gentlemen

First, allow me to say how pleased and honoured I am to be with you today.

Today, it is a special Day.

Today, we are celebrating nine heroes whose courage, faith and dedication contributed – more than 70 years ago – to defend and preserve the independence of France and to save our common values: freedom, tolerance, democracy.

Today,14 th of July, is also our National day, the Bastille Day. And it’s precisely the moment of the year where we celebrate these values.

I would like to extend the tribute to all your fellow soldiers during the Second World War, especially to all of those who did not make it back to their country and families.

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Ladies and gentlemen,

These heroes did all of this far away from their home, from their beloved family, from their friends. You are heroes.

It is almost impossible for us to imagine how much courage and bravery it must have required to cross the ocean and to fight over Europe as you did.

Courage and bravery are precisely the qualities that Napoleon wanted to reward while creating the Legion of Honor in 1802. Your courage and your bravery are precisely the reason why the President of French Republic has decided to award you the highest French recognition.

General Eisenhower told you: “the eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you”.

You did your duty. You said to Eisenhower: “you can count on us”.

And you saved France and Europe from hell. You saved people you didn’t even know.

I am here, today, to tell you that the people of France have not forgotten. Their children and grandchildren have not forgotten. France will never forget.

We, the French people, know exactly what we owe to the American people, to the US Army, to the US Navy, to the US Air Force, to the US Marines, to the US coats guards, to the men and women who spent days and nights in American factories and shipyards to build the most powerful military force in history, an Armada for Liberty.

We know exactly what we owe to you personally.

Thanks to you and thanks to America, people of my generation were allowed to grow up in a free country.

On behalf of the President of the French Republic, I want to express the deep, sincere and eternal gratitude of the French people.

On this note, and 70 years after the D-Day and the liberation of France, permit me to quote from the French President, who said:

“In France, there are many white crosses where lie some of your comrades who did not return to the United States. Know that their memory is cherished by all the people of France. The sacrifice made by you and your comrades was not in vain. If I am here before you, it is because men like you did their duty.”

On this 14th of July 2015, and as decided by the President of the French Republic, I will now bestow the Legion of Honor upon you.»

Pictures

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About these 9 heroes / speech

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May BUELOW ALM

"Born in Canada, you joined the US Army through the Red Cross in October 1942 at the age of 25. Nurse with the 104th Evacuation Hospital, you landed in Normandy in July 1944 and follow the Hospital Units movements in Normandy, north of France and the Ardennes before reaching Luxembourg and Germany. For your actions, you were awarded, among others, the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 5 Bronze service stars, 3 overseas service bars, the American campaign medal, the Meritious Unit Award and the World War II Victory medal."

Robert BEAM

"You joined the US Army in May 1943, at the age of 18. Rifleman in the 4th Quatermaster Company, you fought against the German armies, especially in Normandy and in the Ardennes. Wounded on July 7th, 1944 at La Haye du Puit, you were awarded, among others, the Purple Heart, the Good conduct medal, the European African Middle Eastern ribbon with 4 Bronze service stars and the Combat infantryman badge."

Tomas CORTEZ

"You joined the US Army in January 1943, at the age of 21. Cannoneer in the 821st Tank Destroyer Battalion, you landed at Omaha Beach on June 1944 and fought against the German armies, especially during the battle of St Lô and the liberation of Brest. For your actions, you were awarded, among others, the European African Middle Eastern theatre medal, the Good conduct ribbon and the World War II medal."

Harry ISHIBASHI

"You joined the US Army in March 1943 at the age of 19. Radio operator in the 552nd Field Artillery Battalion, you fought in Italy and then joined the 442nd Infantry Regiment, taking part in the fighting in the Vosges. In October 1944, you participated in the liberation of Bruyeres and then were posted to the epic rescue of the "Lost Battalion" in Biffontaine. For your actions, you were awarded, among others, the Good conduct medal, the Bronze star medal, the European African Middle Eastern service Medal, the American campaign service medal and the WWII Victory Medal."

Geoffrey JONES

"You joined the US Army in May 1943 at the age of 21 entering the Officer candidate School at Fort Benning. Second Lieutenant in March 1944, you then joined the 22nd Infantry battalion and landed in Normandy in August. You fought against the German armies, especially in Normandy, in Paris and in northern France. Infantry Unit Commander, you were wounded twice, In Germany and in France. For your actions, you were awarded, among others, the Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze service star and the Bronze star medal."

Herbert KWART

"You joined the US Air Force in October 1940 at the age of 18. Radar Operator in the 534th Bombardment Squadron, you took part in the fighting in South France in 1944, then you fought in Germany and, once again, fought in France in April 1945, helping the liberation of Bordeaux. For your actions, you were awarded, among others, the American Defense medal, the European African Middle Eastern service medal with four Bronze Stars, the Air Medal with two oak leafs and the American theatre service medal."

Douglas LINDLEY

"Douglas Lindley joined the US Army in February 1943 at the age of 19. Staff Sergeant in the 395th Infantry Regiment, he landed in Cherbourg in September 1944 and then he fought against the German armies, especially in the Ardennes. For his actions, he was awarded, among others, the European African Middle Eastern service ribbon, the American theatre service ribbon, the Good conduct medal, the Victory medal and the Combat infantryman badge."

Jim SUZUKI

"You joined the US Army in May 1943 at the age of 19. Rifleman in the 442nd Infantry Regiment, you took part in the fighting in the Vosges. In October 1944, you participated in the liberation of Bruyeres and then were posted to the epic rescue of the "Lost Battalion" in Biffontaine.Wounded, you were awarded, among others, the Purple Heart, the Good conduct ribbon, the European African Middle Eastern Ribbon with 3 Bronze service stars and the Combat Infantryman’s badge."

Frank YEE

"You joined the US Army in February 1941 at the age of 22. Podiatrist in the 71st Infantry Division, you landed in Le Havre in January 1945 and you fought against the German armies, especially in Alsace. For your actions, you were awarded, among others, the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the Good conduct medal, the American Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory medal."

Dernière modification : 20/07/2015

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