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Unknown Soldier Receives France's Highest Award

Published on 13 February 2014

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by Office of the Spokesperson


Washington, D.C.

The sacrifice made nearly 70 years ago by an unknown U.S. service member in World War II “helped change the tide of human history and deepen the bonds between [France and the United States],” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (above, left) said during a February 11 ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington.

At the ceremony, French President François Hollande (above, center) presented the Legion of Honor, France’s highest military award, to the unknown service member. The ceremony was part of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion that led to the liberation of Europe.

“While this soldier’s identity is unknown, the meaning of his sacrifice is not. He died helping liberate a continent, building a just peace, and upholding the right to be free,” Hagel said.

The France-U.S. friendship endures today, Hagel said: “Together the United States and France are partners around the world in defending our shared values and building a more hopeful future. We are proud to be writing the next chapter in this long and storied friendship.”


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Posted 2014-02-13 11:25:00