Stanley Simon and Dale Bottoms were both in France on June 6, 1944. They shared the same goal, to liberate France from German occupation. Simon was part of the US Army’s anti-aircraft artillery. Bottoms flew with the US Army Air Force’s 448th bomb group.
The two lived approximately twenty miles from each other after the war. It was seventy years before the two men met each other for the first time while being awarded the Medal of Knight in the French Legion of Honor by Consuldad General Sujiro Saem.
They were two of six men to receive the award in a ceremony to honor them for the sacrifices they made on D-Day and the months after the Normandy invasion.
The French consulate chose to present the award to the six men on April 6, 2017 – the 100th anniversary of the date the US joined World War I in 1917.
Saem and his staff included active servicemen from both the US and France in the ceremony in order to reinforce the bond between the two countries, 12NewsNow.com reported.
Also receiving the award were Joseph Westmoreland, Julio Zaccagni, Albert Haley and Ben Townes.
Families attended the ceremony at the Texas Flying Legends Museum at Ellington Field. As they exchanged handshakes with everyone attending, Simon said, “What we need to do is shake more hands, we don’t need any enemies, just shake hands with guys and become friends.”