The French government awards this highest French order of merit to living Americans who fought in Normandy or the Rhineland. Napoleon Bonaparte created the medal and award. Two French officials flew from Paris flew to be in Conneaut to award three medals this year. Some of the men are wheelchair bound and others in remarkable shape though they are all in their 90’s . Most of them were hugging and posing for pictures with the lovely young girls dressed in styles from the 40s. It is an interesting question whether that is their usual behavior or if the uniforms, though threadbare, give them the courage to hugs the girls!
The medal ceremony was very touching with not a dry eye. I was thinking of the life and approaching end of life of each dear man. There was a time during the following hour for 7 of the veterans to tell stories from the war. I am so glad these are being recorded as there are fewer and fewer veterans each year.
The thoughts I took away were how young they were, 17, 18 , 19 when they joined the fight. My brother George was killed when he was 20 . Just as my family always says that George was an normal American boy who saw his duty, these veterans had been ordinary boys answering their country without much understanding of what the war was all about. Loving their country and doing their duty lead their decision.
Today and forever they will always be our Greatest Generation! God bless them.