(February 1, 2013)

French Consulate, Centenary professor honor Louisiana war veterans

SHREVEPORT, LA — Dr. Dana Kress, Centenary Professor of French and Honorary Consul of France, recently participated in a ceremony to bestow the Ordre national de al Légion d'honneur, or Legion of Honour, on two residents of the Northeast Louisiana Veterans Home. The Legion of Honour represents France's highest decoration.

Dana Kress, Genevieve Tournebize, Mr. Sims, and Mr. Jowers
(L to R): Dana Kress, Genevieve Tournebize, Mr. Sims, and Mr. Jowers

"We have gathered to honor two men, Mr. William L. Sims, Jr., and M. John Jowers," said Kress in a statement at the event. "The nation of France recognizes your bravery of nearly seventy years ago. Your families, who have gathered here, are proof that your honor, your willingness to put the needs of others before your own, and your sense of duty, have endured to serve you and your families on the battlefields of life."

Madame Genevieve Tournebize, a French citizen, presented the medals directly to the veterans in the name of France. The Legion of Honour must only pass through French hands. The decrees admitting Sims and Jowers to the Legion of Honour were signed by French President M. Francois Hollande.

During World War II, Sims served as a captain in the 375th Engineer General Service Regiment. He took part in the battles for the Ardennes and the North of France. Sims aided in reconstructing railroad lines and moving supplies to advancing Allied armies. He served from August 1944 to March 1946.

Jowers served on the battlefields of France from January 1944 to April 1946, first as a private and later a sergeant in the 242nd Infantry Regiment. He also saw action as an anti-tank specialist during the battle for Alsace during the German Nordwind Operation.

As Honorary Consul of France, Dr. Kress has received official accreditation from the U.S. State Department, the use of the official seal of France and French flag, and an office at the Consulate General of France building in New Orleans.

The Legion of Honour was established by Napoleon Bonaparte on May 19, 1802.