MIAMI – Six World War II veterans were awarded the Legion of Honor by the French Consul General Philippe Letrilliart during a ceremony Friday at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University.
The men fought alongside the French on Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, against German troops. That battle is known as D-Day.
Letrilliart spoke during the event
, and expressed his appreciation to the veterans. He presented the veterans with their medal, which is considered the highest decoration in France.
The country has regularly given the honor to American veterans who fought alongside them.
"It’s a very small token of appreciation for what they did," Letrilliart said. "When they were young, they went to the shores of France, combated. Many young soldiers died there."
The ceremony gave several students, who are part of the university’s French study aboard program, the opportunity to speak to the veterans about their experience.
"We went to Normandy. We saw these places that they are talking about," Stephanie Sepulveda said.
"Just hearing it from them is incredibly humbling."
After presenting the veterans the medals, Letrilliart turned his message to those students, calling on them to promise to never forget the sacrifices the men made.
"I am very glad to see that these students are interested and will remember what happened, and the men who sacrificed their lives, to participate in the liberation," said Walter Lambert, one of the honored veterans.