Eisenhower students got to experience a unique cultural experience as a World War II veteran received one of France's highest honors.
On November 13th, 2018, Eisenhower hosted an assembly honoring World War II veteran Lieutenant Colonel James Carl for his bravery and service in liberating France.
Carl was surprised with the French Legion of Honor Award by Houston French Consulate General Consul Alexis Andres and Honorary French Consul for Oklahoma Grant Moak.
Carl, a P-51 fighter pilot, flew 86 missions during the war, engaging the Germans in countless dogfights and receiving two Distinguished Flying Crosses.
During the assembly, Carl made sure his brothers were honored as well, “It’s unbelievable, I don't feel like I deserve it. If anybody deserves it, it’s my friends I lost. So, I guess I'm accepting this on their behalf,” he said. "We loved each other. We loved what we were doing and we loved France."
Carl addressed the Eisenhower students, calling them a "great group of kids," and told them to "let your patriotism show."
French General Consul Alexis Andres was proud to award Carl with the prestigious honor on behalf of France saying, “Legend of Honor is the most prestigious award and honor since the 19th century. It is awarded to civilians and soldiers and can be awarded to foreign people."
Andres said it is rare for an American soldier to receive the award, but said Lt. Col. James received the honor because he "participated in the liberation of France and did it in a very commendable way."
Eisenhower students and staff said they were honored to attend and host the assembly. Principal Connie Horner said, "I was extremely proud to hold this event at our school. We have such a strong relationship with our partners, both in France and here within the United States. It was an incredible moment in time to witness an American soldier who helped liberate France from Germany being awarded the highest French military award."
In addition to Lt. Colonel James, Eisenhower students honored all veterans by singing each branch of military's song in multiple languages.