The Boynton Veterans Council sponsored a touching celebration of Victory in Japan Day on Friday with a presentation of honors to World War II veterans and the unveiling of multiple war-era monuments at Boynton Beach’s Veterans’ Bicentennial Park. Despite the imminent threat of rain showers and the persistence of gusty winds and a few sprinkles, more than 100 guests took shelter under tents to recognize the few honored men (and one widow) at the center of attention.
French Consul General Gaël de Maisonneuve and the VP of the American Society of the French Legion of Honor, Nicole Hirsh, bestowed rare Legion of Honor medals upon seven American combat veterans who fought in France in World War II and the widow of an eigth, accepting on behalf of her husband, William Martin. Each veteran was presented individually with the medal and a proclamation of appreciation in French. Three used their time in the spotlight to give a nod of approval to one of the popular guest speakers of the day, U.S. Rep. Allen West. Two of the men approached West in the middle of the ceremony with a handshake and a few private words before sitting back down, and the other shot him a thumbs up after he received his award.
The Legion of Honor Recipients were David Balaban, Steven Heller, William Lake,Mrs. William Martin, Irving R. Miller, Anthony Pasca, Charles Shapiro, Irving Singer.
West was there to unveil the monument to African American veterans and give a brief speech on their behalf. The other two monuments unveiled honored the sacrifices of lady veterans and the Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
Allen West speaks about African American soldiers
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