Three Americans & One Brit Receive France’s Highest Honor, the Legion of Honor, for Thwarting Train Terror Attack (VIDEO)
President François Hollande of France awarded the Legion of Honor, France’s highest award, to 23 year old Airman First Class Spencer Stone, 22 year old Alek Skarlatos, a specialist in the Oregon National Guard, and their friend 23 year old Anthony Sadler for their role in stopping a gunman on a high-speed train traveling to Paris from Amsterdam on Friday. Also receiving the honor was 62 year old Chris Norman, a British consultant who helped subdue the gunman. President François Hollande praised the men as heroes and “an example for many and a source of inspiration”.
“One need only know that Ayoub El Kahzani was in possession of 300 rounds of ammunition and firearms to understand what we narrowly avoided, a tragedy, a massacre,” Mr. Hollande said at the ceremony, referring to the suspect in the attack, a Moroccan who is in police custody and denies that he had planned to stage a terrorist attack.
“Your heroism must be an example for many and a source of inspiration,” Mr. Hollande added. “Faced with the evil of terrorism, there is a good, that of humanity. You are the incarnation of that.”
They grew up together, fought off an attacker together and accepted a nation’s honor together.
Three days after they pounced and subdued a gunman aboard a packed train, American childhood friends Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos got the Legion of Honor — France’s highest recognition.
Fellow British passenger Chris Norman, who helped tackle the gunman, also received the award during Monday’s ceremony at the Élysée Palace.
“By their courage, they saved lives,” President François Hollande said. “They gave us an example of what is possible to do in these kinds of situations.”
The four stopped a potential massacre Friday aboard the high-speed train headed from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Paris.
“Three Americans and one Englishman … you risked your lives to defend an ideal, the ideal of liberty and freedom,” Hollande said.