American Train Heroes Receive France's Highest Honor

Posted on August 24, 2015

The three brave Americans who foiled a terrorist's plan to brutally murder the passengers on the Amsterdam - Paris train have been awarded France's highest honor: the Legion D'Honneur. French President Francois Hollande awarded the honor to college student Anthony Sadler, USAF Airman First Class Spencer Stone and Army National Guard Specialist Aleksander "Alek" Skarlatos.

The ceremony was held in the Elysee Palace in Paris, France. President Hollande praised the young Americans' willingness to act and how they and another passenger helped avert a horrific massacre. President Hollande said, “You have shown that in the face of terror, you can resist. So you have given us a lesson of courage, of determination and therefore of hope.”

He pinned ribbons on the chests of the three childhood friends who met in middle school. President Hollande formally identified the Islamic terrorist who has been on the radar of four different country's intelligence services for some time. Hollande said, "There were over 500 passengers on that train. Ayoub el-Khazzani possessed over 300 bullets. And we realize now how close we were to a tragedy and a massacre."

The three young men have been staying at the U.S. Ambassador residence in Paris where American Ambassador to France Jane Hartley has helping them with media and adjusting to the limelight. She sent a car for them as soon as she heard what had happened. Ambassador Hartley said, "We often use the word hero…and in this case I think that word has never been more appropriate."

These men are true American heroes who saved many lives with their quick thinking and willingness to risk injury or death to save others. In this clip from the press conference yesterday, they described what happened on the train. Mr. Sadler also asked others to do something when faced with such a situation, and not to just stand by:

Here is a clip from the ceremony in which the three Americans and British passenger Chris Norman receive the Legion d'Honneur:

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