Local World War II veterans receive prestigious french medals of honor

Six world war two Veterans received medals of honor from the french consulate on Thursday.

On June 6, 1944, Stanley Simon (Beaumont) and Dale Bottoms (Groves) entered France with one job, liberate it from Germany. Simon was with the Army's anti-aircraft artillery on the ground. Bottoms flew over him with the Army Air Force's 448th bomb group, in charge of taking out German forces inland. 
The two men essentially lived twenty miles apart; But it took more than seventy years after the war for these WWII veterans met each other for the first time, during a ceremony conducted by Consuldad General Sujiro Saem.

In all, six men were honored by the french goverment for their sacrifices made on D-Day and the months following the initial attacks on the Normandy show.
The date chosen by France's consulate was April 6, 2017, on the 100 year anniversary the United States joined the first World War in 1917.  
The Medal of Knight in the French Legion of Honour is equivalent to the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor.
Take is from Staff Sergeant Dale Bottoms himself, "I don't known of any other honor than it is to be here today, it's just such a wonderful thing."
Which is why Saem and his staff made sure active servicemen and women from both France and the United States attended the ceremony, to make sure that allied bond is never forgotten.
The other four recipients of the medal were as follows:
  • Joseph Westmoreland  (from Livingston)
  • Julio  Zaccagni  (from Houston) 
  • Albert Haley (from Spring)
  • Ben Townes (from Lake Jackson)  

Proud families, lots of handshakes, and beautiful words of thanks filled the Texas Flying Legends Museum at Ellington Field, but it was the words of 95-year-old Sergeant Stanley Simon that sum up what's been on his mind for the last 73 years.

"What we need to do is shake more hands, we don't need any enemies, just shake hands with guys and become friends," said Simon.

© 2017 KBMT-TV


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