It was an emotional surprise for a World War II veteran.
On Friday John Faenza received the Knight of Legion of Honor Medal, the highest honor of French military decoration, and it brought him to tears.
“It’s a big surprise especially to have my family with me today,” Faenza said.
Faenza is a resident at Hartford Healthcare’s Cedar Mountain Assisted Living Facility in Newington. Through a lengthy process, veteran’s liaison coordinator Wayne Rioux was able to apply and arrange for Faenza to receive the medal.
“John was a sergeant in the Army Air Corps which was the U.S. Army at that time,” Rioux said. “He was assigned to a bomber wing and their mission was to conduct bombing missions throughout France, Germany, and they did so a lot of times in the dark with just maps they had available.”
Medals are only presented to living veterans.
“For us it’s really important to honor the greatest generation and U.S. veterans who fought for our democracy and values on our soil,” said Anne-Claire Legendre, Consul General of France in New York.
“I appreciate everybody that came here to see this occasion,” Faenza said.