Today I happened upon a ceremony in the north wing of the State Capitol. World War II veterans were receiving the Legion of Honor from the French Consulate, which has its southeastern US headquarters in Atlanta.
The medal is the highest honor of France, and the French ambassador thanked these men for their service.
"You were all true heroes," he said, "who were there when hope was disappearing."
I cannot here do justice to their stories. But I will list their names, from a press release by the French Consulate:
Veterans Crawford Ferguson from Charlotte, N.C. (8th Air Force), Leonard A. Gardner from Myrtle Beach, S.C. (90th Infantry Division), Ken L. Faulkner from Birmingham, Ala. (137th Infantry), Willie E. Lambert from Dawsonville, Georgia (320th Infantry), Robert P. Mechling from Brentwood, Tenn. (8th Air Force), James L. Miller from Byhalia, Miss. (27th Armored Infantry Battalion), and Marsh C. Pickett from Greenwood, Miss. (18th Corps Artillery), have confirmed their presence. Also, James Brothers from Elisabeth City, N.C. (104th Infantry) will be represented by a family member. They will receive this reward in recognition for their courage. Among their many heroic deeds, they participated in the Normandy landings, which were decisive in the liberation of France.
Crawford Ferguson, 8th Air Force, Charlotte, N.C.