Local D-Day Vets Eligible For “Legion d’Honneur”

Earlier this month, America celebrated the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Each year, the number of folks who remember that occasion — especially those who were there — grows smaller.

The French government is bestowing the “Légion d’Honneur” upon eligible U.S. survivors of that memorable day, as well as eligible U.S. soldiers who fought on French soil and contributed to the liberation of that country.

Legion d'Honneur medal.

Legion d’Honneur medal.

One local man is taking that a step further. Jean-Pierre Lavielle does not work for the French government, or any organization. But he is French — the son of a paratroop officer who fought in World War II — so he decided to look for all eligible veterans living in Connecticut.

The “Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur” was founded by Napoleon in 1802 to reward his soldiers’ gallantry and valiance in combat.

So Jean-Pierre is searching for U.S. veterans who not only were in D-Day or other significant battles for the liberation of France — like the Battle of the Bulge — but who also accomplished something special.

Once he identifies potential recipients, he interviews them. Because they tire easily now, he limits his sessions — at least 6 of them — to 20 minutes each.He collects documents, discharge papers, pictures and newspaper clippings. After double-checking, he files an application with the French Consulate in New York. They contact Paris, where the file is scrutinized.

“This is a race against the clock,” Jean-Pierre says. “Unfortunately, many eligible veterans die every day.”

Any Connecticut veterans who may be eligible for the honor — or their relatives — should email jpl106897@gmail.com, or call him at 203-862-7373 or 203-635-3117.

Bonne chance! Et merci!


6 responses to “Local D-Day Vets Eligible For “Legion d’Honneur”

  1. Britt E Anderson

    What a wonderful thing to do! Msr. Lavielle is to be commended.

  2. joe signorile

    dan just fyi, tried to contact him and the email comes back invalid…

  3. Please note that potentially eligible veterans should provide me with a copy of their military records which can be obtained online at the following address: http://archives.gov/veterans/military-services-records/.
    Only a limited number of persons can request veteran’s military records: the veteran himself of course, surviving spouse (if not remarried), father and mother (N/A in this context), son, daughter, sister and brother. It is free for most veterans.

  4. Sally Campbell Palmer

    Very classy all around!

  5. Armelle Daniels

    Makes me so proud! Thanks Jean-Pierre, un idee merveilleuse. We should always honor those who serve us, and thank them for our freedom.