The three Americans who thwarted a terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train in 2015 were granted French citizenship on Thursday during a special naturalization ceremony in California, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler were traveling from Amsterdam to Paris in August 2015 when a man opened fire on passengers. The three childhood friends quickly sprung into action and subdued the attacker after his rifle jammed.
"Our nation will be enriched by your strength, your culture and your personal experiences," Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens, the consul general of France in San Francisco, per the Sacramento Bee. "Today, France is proud to welcome you into its rich history."
See the Paris train attack heroes celebrate new French citizenship
(The Sacramento Bee)
Two of the Paris train heroes are U.S. military veterans, Skarlatos of the Oregon National Guard and Stone of the U.S. Air Force. Stone in particular has cited his Air Force medical training as essential to the first aid he provided wounded passengers during the attack.
"We feel a certain connection with France," Stone said during the naturalization ceremony on Thursday. "It's an honor that they're opening their arms to us like that."
President Barack Obama had previously honored Stone with an Airman's Medal and Purple Heart, while Skarlatos received the Soldier's Medal, per Fox News
The three men played themselves in Clint Eastwood's 2018 film 15:17 to Paris based on their memoir recounting the attack.
French Consul General Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens, left, honors Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos during a French Naturalization Ceremony in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. (Associated Press/Randall Benton)
NEWPORT — The explosion and sinking of the ship in 1943 claimed at least 1,138 lives, and while the sea swallowed the bones there were people, too, who also worked to shroud the bodies.
The sinking of the H.M.T. Rohna was the greatest loss of life at sea by enemy action in the history of U.S. war, but the British Admiralty demanded silence from the survivors and the tragedy was immediately classified by the U.S. War Department.
Michael Walsh of Newport is working to bring the story of the Rohna to the surface with a documentary film, which includes interviews with some of the survivors of the attack. Walsh has interviewed about 45 men who were aboard the ship when it was hit.
Editor's note: this story originally appeared in 2018
How you die matters. Ten years ago, on Memorial Day, I was in Fallujah, serving a year-long tour on the staff and conducting vehicle patrols between Abu Ghraib and Ramadi. That day I attended a memorial service in the field. It was just one of many held that year in Iraq, and one of the countless I witnessed over my 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Like many military veterans, Memorial Day is not abstract to me. It is personal; a moment when we remember our friends. A day, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “sacred to memories of love and grief and heroic youth."