Le­gion of Honor

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

French Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Sarkozy paid a brief sen­ti­men­tal stop Nov. 6 at the French am­bas­sador’s res­i­dence in the Kalo­rama neigh­bor­hood of Wash­ing­ton to pin the Che­va­lier de la Le­gion d’hon­neur, his na­tion’s high­est dec­o­ra­tion, on the chests of seven Amer­i­can sol­diers from World War II, to whom he de­liv­ered “the grat­i­tude of a grate­ful na­tion.”

“If there is peace to­day in Europe,” he said, “it is be­cause of you.”

The French pres­i­dent, who some­times wears his ad­mi­ra­tion for Amer­ica on his well-tai­lored sleeve, told them: “You did your duty, and we will never for­get what you did for France.”

The seven in­cluded Sen. Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, an Amer­i­can of Ja­panese an­ces­try, and Mr. Sarkozy noted that he was a leader of the 442nd Reg­i­men­tal Com­bat Team, made up only of Ja­pane­seAmer­i­cans, who had been up­rooted from their homes and sent to in­tern­ment camps in Cal­i­for­nia, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Ari­zona, Wy­oming and Arkansas.

Each of the other men — James Hill of Elora, Tenn.; John Kerner of San Fran­cisco; Henry Lan­grehr of Clin­ton, Iowa; Bernard Rader of Freeport, N.Y.; Charles Shay of Old Town, Maine; and Ge­orge Thompson of Mil­ton, Mass. — got not only a medal, but also the tra­di­tional kiss on both cheeks. But it was only an air kiss. And then they joined their fam­i­lies and a few friends for a glass of cham­pagne. Noth­ing do­mes­tic, nat­u­rally.

Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

French Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Sarkozy on Nov. 6 at the French Em­bassy in Wash­ing­ton awarded Ge­orge Thompson of Mil­ton, Mass. and six other U.S. World War II vet­er­ans France’s high­est dec­o­ra­tion, the Le­gion d’hon­neur.

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