97-year-old former U.S. Navy Seaman Veteran Stephen Nemeth was awarded the Legion of Honor, France’s highest recognition, for his contribution in liberating France during WWII at a ceremony at the American Legion Post 10 in Kissimmee on Friday.

According to Consul General for France in Miami  Vincent Floreani, Mr. Nemeth’s action helped Allied forces secure victory, and ultimately peace.

France’s highest merit, the Legion of Honor was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and is awarded to French citizens and foreign nationals who have demonstrated exemplary service to the French Republic, either in civil or military pursuits.

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Navy Vet 2
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Other American’s who have received the prestigious honor have included former President Dwight D. Eisenhour and General Douglas MacArthur.

In recent years, American WWII veterans who fought on French soil during the war, Navy Seaman Stephen Nemeth did so twice,  have been recognized with the Legion of Honor. There have been approximately 93,000 recipients of the award.

In attendance during the ceremony were, 

  • Commander Dianne Ritchey, American Legion Post 10
  • Alfred “Al” Carter deputy executive director, Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • City of Kissimmee Commissioner Jim Fisher
  • Paula Stark, Executive Director with St. Cloud Main Street
  • Christine Del Portillo and Barry Cotton, regional directors of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
  • Ryleigh Marie Wogoman, outreach assistat for U.S. Senator Rick ScottBrigitte Dagot-Jensen, Honorary Consul of France in Orlando
  • Lieutenant Anne-Clémence Desmidt, Lieutenant-Colonel Frédéric BACHAYTER, Lieutenant-Colonel Olivier Vivot from the French military representation at the
  • U.S. Central Command in Tampa
  • Retired. Lieutenant Philippe Derathe, Knight of the Legion of Honor

Photo Source: Consulate of France in Miami