Three World War II veterans received the Republic of France’s highest honor during a special ceremony held Thursday, Sept. 29 on The University of Southern Mississippi campus.
U.S. servicemen Louis K. Brown, Jack O. Hearn and James W. Williams were awarded the National Order of the Legion of Honor for eminent services to help liberate France during World War II. Hearn and Williams were on hand to receive their medals from Caroline Pasquier, deputy consul of France. Louise Brown accepted the medal on behalf of her late husband.
“For the courage, the commitment and the sacrifices you made to liberate France and help bring peace to the world, the Republic of France says, ‘thank you.’ ” said Pasquier. “In the name of freedom, you showed no fear. Today, we salute your bravery and we want you to know that we will never forget that you were a part of the Greatest Generation.”
The ceremony also included recognition of Southern Miss French instructor Keltoum Rowland as the Honorary Consul of France to the State of Mississippi. A Southern Miss alumna and native of France, Rowland holds a Master of Arts in Teaching Languages from Southern Miss with a dual emphasis in French and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.
“Being the wife of a Mississippi Army National Guard soldier, I know first-hand the sacrifices made by soldiers and their families ever day,” said Rowland. “I am honored to have this opportunity to express thanks to the veterans we recognize today for their service to the United States and their contributions to the Republic of France.”
The event was sponsored by the L'Association Francaise de USM (French Association of USM) and included a reception in the Thad Cochran Center ballrooms.