By: Emily Johnson
February 21, 2014
Tallahassee, FL - It's the highest honor for our World War II Veterans by the French Consulate. Five veterans in Florida were awarded the French Legion of Honor Medal Friday morning at the Museum of Florida History. "This is a way for your American public to know a bit more about what was the war and what your American soldiers did for us," said Philippe Letrilliart, Consul General of France.
The medal is awarded to American Veterans who fought on French soil to help liberate France from the Nazis. Harold Blalack, Howard Gilberg, Lloyd Murphy, John Swihart and Robert L. Thompson all received the award.
"Very grateful to have this opportunity to receive this French medal," said Lloyd Murphy, Legion of Honor Recipient.
"I'm just really proud, it's an honor. I just feel, I didn't realized I was entitled to this. I did it for all the guys that didn't make it," said Robert L. Thompson, Legion of Honor Recipient.
Robert Thompson is from Bristol, FL. He joined the U.S.Army in 1944 and fought in The Battle of the Bulge. Thompson said it took him many years to talk about his war experiences. "My daughter would ask, Daddy why don't you tell us about this. I would say honey it's too hard to talk about, because we saw things that you wanted to forget about," said Thompson.
The French Consulate said they've awarded the Legion of Honor Medal to more than 1,000 veterans in Florida. They said they're planning to recognize more in the near future.
The Legion of Honor Medal was created two centuries ago. On the 60TH Anniversary of the Normandy Landings France decided to award the honor to all U.S. Veterans who fought in France during World War II.