(July 30, 2014)
Alumnus receives French Legion of Honor from Consul General of France
SHREVEPORT, LA — This June 6, 2014, marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the day that alumnus Paul Madden '47 received the French Legion of Honor.
Dr. Grace Bareikis poses with Paul Madden at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans
"It's an honor," said Madden. "But the ones who really deserve it are those who didn't come home from war."
In order to express France's eternal gratitude to those who liberated it from oppression from 1944-45, the Consul General of France in New Orleans, Jean-Claude Brunet, honored Madden and 16 other American WWII Veterans from Louisiana with the French Legion of Honor during a ceremony held at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. The daylong event featured special exhibits, films, speakers, music, and the chance for veterans to reconnect.
Madden served as a member of 3rd Army, Company A, 379th Regiment, 95th Infantry Division in France during World War II as a Rifleman and was awarded the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. He participated in the battle for the liberation of Metz as one of the American soldiers who became known as "The Iron Men of Metz."
Dr. Grace Bareikis, former director of intercultural affairs at Centenary, recommended Madden, with whom she volunteers at the Centenary Book House, for the honor.
"Paul is such a humble person and only a few of us know what a great contribution his service in WWII really was," said Bareikis. "When I learned about the honor I knew he was the ideal person for it. He continues to be loyal to his company serving as historian and has been back to France several times for reunions. He is also an incredibly loyal alumnus of Centenary, volunteering almost full-time at the Book House."
Bareikis along with David Henington '82, Planned Giving Officer, and an impressive number of Madden's family traveled to New Orleans to watch him receive the honor.
Founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the National Order of the Legion of Honor is the highest honor in France. It recognizes eminent services to the French Republic. Recipients of this honor are designated by the President of the Republic, François Hollande.