French president awards train heroes Legion d’Honneur for preventing “carnage”
French President Francois Hollande awarded three Americans and a Briton the Legion d’Honneur on Monday, saying their actions in overpowering a Moroccan gunman on a train prevented “a real carnage”.
“A terrorist decided to commit an attack. He had enough weapons and ammunition to carry out a real carnage, and that’s what he would have done if you hadn’t tackled him at a risk to your own lives,” Hollande said in a ceremony at the Elysee presidential palace.
“You have shown us that, faced with terror, we have the power to resist. You have given a message of courage, solidarity and hope,” Hollande said.
The three Americans were off-duty servicemen Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone and their student friend Anthony Sadler. They were joined by 62-year-old British business consultant Chris Norman.
A French passenger who also tackled the gunman when he discovered him preparing the attack in a toilet is also being honoured, but has chosen to stay anonymous.
“I did not want you to return to your countries without receiving this honour,” said Hollande.
“Faced with the peril of terrorism, it’s in refusing to back down, in refusing to be afraid, it’s by standing up together that we overcome.”