by: Kurt Wahlgren, Social Studies Department Chair
On November 29, an Honors U.S. History class from Shorecrest Upper School witnessed a French Legion of Honor Ceremony. The Ceremony was held at the French American School of Tampa Bay and was presented by the Consulate General of France.
Tampa Bay Area residents Joseph B. Corbin and Francis O. Smith were honored with an award that was created two centuries ago by Napoleon Bonaparte. The Légion d'honneur is France’s highest distinction and today awards allied soldiers that helped liberate France in WWII.
Mr. Corbin fought under General George Patton in the Battle of the Bulge. Mr. Smith landed in the second wave of D-Day on Omaha Beach.
Andrea Romero ‘20 said, “I believe that being able to attend this ceremony was truly a once in a lifetime experience considering the fact that the number of [living] WWII veterans is becoming smaller and smaller each day. This touching experience was an eye opener for me of how much of an impact the two veterans made and how their service has had an enormous impact on lives all over the world today. I am very grateful that I got the opportunity to see two very brave men receive the awards and recognition that they so much deserve.”
Kyle Levine ‘20 added, “We are certainly grateful to have been given the opportunity to attend such an important ceremony. Being a part of a community that came together to honor American veterans, and their hardships experienced during WWII was not something that most schools get to attend. Hearing speeches during the ceremony and watching the veterans receive their medals gave students a first-hand look at what the war meant and why we honor them today.”
Thank you to Mr. Dan Hannigan of the French American School of Tampa Bay for inviting us to this ceremony.
Photo courtesy of Erin Mullins ‘20.
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