Consulate General of France honors D-Day veterans at Naples museum

Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

Local elected officials, delegates, veterans and their families all gathered to remember the fight for freedom and celebrate the ever-present alliance between France and the United States.

The Consulate General of France in Miami awarded veterans Bernard Best and Richard Bergeron the French Legion Medal of Honor in front of a packed crowd at Naples Depot Museum Thursday, the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

β€œYou’ve gotta remember this,” veteran John Vagnetti said. β€œI hope that this will continue year after year because this is a day of infamy.”

The date, June 6, 1944, saw 150,000 U.S. troops storm the beaches of Normandy during WWII.

β€œIt made me think back to what I actually did,” Best said.

Dozens of World War II and Korean War veterans were at the ceremony two watch their brothers in arms have the major honor bestowed upon them as well as remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice 75 years ago.

β€œThe lesson we can draw from what these gentlemen did is freedom can never be taken for granted,” said Clement Leclerc, the Consul General of France. β€œThat’s very much their legacy, and we want to live up to that.”

But what veterans said we need to live up to now is keeping the historic day alive.

β€œI’m at awe,” Vagnetti said. β€œI’m concerned that this may end someday, and it’s unfortunate.”

Veterans like Best, Bergeron and Vagnetti want us to remember that thousand made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.

β€œA lot of people just forget,” veteran Pappy Wagner said. β€œA lot of people don’t even know. They don’t teach much in school, and it reminds you what war is.”

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