You gave a lesson in courage, in will, and thus in hope (French President Francoise Hollande)
Three Americans and a British man received the French Legion of Honor medal on Monday, August 24, at the hands of the French President Francoise Hollande.
The men were honored for their heroic role in subduing an armed gunman who was aboard a high-speed train heading from the Netherlands to Paris.
According to the Associated Press, Hollande said the men showed that “faced with terror, we have the power to resist,” adding that “You also gave a lesson in courage, in will, and thus in hope.”
The gunman, identified as Ayoub El-Kazzani, 26, was a Moroccan with ties to Islamist radicals.
The U.S. Ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, presented the men at a news conference held at the U.S. Embassy in Paris Sunday.
U.S. Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone said that he’d just woken up from a deep sleep when he saw the gunman carrying and AK-47 through the train car, adding that the gun “looked like it had jammed and wasn’t working.”
He wrestled the gunman to the floor as the gunman pulled out various weapons which he grabbed. The gunman got to a box cutter and began slashing Stone.
Stone appeared at the news conference with his arm in a sling and an injury to his right eye, and had had extensive surgery on his thumb which had been cut badly. Stone thanked the French doctors for their care and attention.
Stone was quoted as saying that he acted “to survive and for my friends and everyone else on the train to make it.”
The assailant was taken down with the help of Stone’s friends and traveling companions Alek Skarlatos, U.S. Army National Guardsman, and Anthony Sadler, a student at Sacramento State University, and a British man living in France, Chris Norman. A Frenchman first confronted the gunman in the train.
At the press conference, Sadler was asked for advice in similar circumstances. He responded that the answer was “to do something. Hiding or sitting back is not going to accomplish anything. And the gunman would have been successful if my friend Spencer hadn’t gotten up.”
This story shows that heroes can be found anywhere there is a need, that tourists can be helpful, and that terror can be resisted and defeated.
L-R: President Francoise Hollande, Alek Skarlatos, U.S. Ambassador Jane Hardley, Spencer Stone, and Anthony Sadler. Note Legion of Honor medals on the heroes.
U.S. Ambassador to France Jane D. Hartley official Twitter account
Jane Hartley @USAmbFrance:“We often use the word hero…
…and in this case I think that word has never been more appropriate”
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He wrote a book called The Art of the Deal which he would translate into world diplomacy situations such as in the recent nuclear talks with Iran, and the situation in Iraq and Syria.
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The people are fed up with politics as usual, and it shows.
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