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The French Embassy in Washington Honors 100 American D-Day Veterans (1)

The French Embassy in Washington Honors 100 American D-Day Veterans (1)

The one hundred World War II veterans honoured on June 3, 2004 at the French Embassy will receive the French Legion of Honor in France during the official D-Day commemorations in Paris and Normandy. The 60th anniversary of the Normandy landings will constitute a historic event and a wonderful occasion to celebrate the long and lasting friendship between the United States and France. Today's reception, held at the French Embassy, honors one hundred veterans who, 60 years ago, were among the tens of thousands who fought for the liberation of France and Europe. This event takes place a few hours before a special flight leaves from Washington D.C. to Paris, on the evening of June 3, taking the one hundred World War II American veterans to France. Speech by French Ambassador to the United States of America Jean-David Levitte. Source: Embassy of France, Washington D.C.

French Ambassador to the United States of America Jean-David Levitte. Archive Photo Joël-François Dumont © European-Security.org

Jean-David Levitte, French Ambassador to the US (E/S Photo)

Dear Veterans,

It is a great honor to welcome you today to the French Embassy to commemorate the 60th anniversary of D-Day. Sixty years ago, you gave your blood and your youth to France and to the French people. Many did not return. They will stay forever in Normandy. They will stay forever in our hearts.

On June 6, fifteen Heads of State will be in Normandy, thousands of men and women—most of whom were not even born that day—will be gathered there, and millions of people will follow these ceremonies throughout the world.

All will pay tribute to the soldiers and officers who sacrificed their young lives in France and Europe and to those who, like you, are fortunately still among us to remember.

Twice last century, in 1917 and in 1944, American soldiers restored freedom to my country, to my continent. We will never forget. France will never forget. Europe will never forget. I want you to know that for all of us, for all the French people, you are heroes. Heroes because we know how much courage, how much bravery it took to land on those hostile beaches, to drop from those planes, to fight a ferocious and merciless enemy.

You were so young. Yet you were ready to sacrifice your young lives for our freedom. For a country that was not even yours. Now it is. The images of that day are part of our collective memory. Gratitude and remembrance are forever embedded in our souls. Every French person has a special place in his heart for you.

To show our gratitude, the President of the French Republic has decided to award you with the Legion of Honor. It is the highest honor that France can bestow upon those who have achieved remarkable deeds for France.

You wanted France to be free and you fought to liberate France. What higher deed than yours

A special Air France flight will soon take you back to France so that you may receive this award and attend the D-Day commemorations.

Today, it is a privilege as well as a real pleasure to have you here just before your departure. Today, the "Maison Française" is yours. It is your home.

Jean-David Levitte
French Ambassador to the U.S.

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).