Every since Sarco took over, the relations with France have improved. He really holds our country in high regard. Better, sadly, than some of our politicians on the left. To France, 'you are heroes' French official gives U.S. vets of WWII the highest award for service to his nation One by one, the World War II veterans in their 80s stood straight as a representative of the French government pinned the Knight of the French Legion of Honour medal to their chests. Dedicated: Paul Moxleys regiment was known for its distinctive marking on its jeeps, guns and helmets three As with a bar through it that stood for anything, anywhere, anytime, bar none. Hes show at his home - Michelle Pemberton / The Star ABOUT THE FRENCH LEGION OF HONOUR The award was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and is the highest award given by the French Republic for outstanding service to France, regardless of the nationality of the recipients. In 2004, French President Jacques Chirac decided to give the medal to World War II veterans who had fought in France in honor of the 60th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy. Veterans can submit documentation of their war record for consideration for the award. Since 2004, the French Consulate in Chicago, which serves 13 Midwestern states, has issued 62 Legion of Honour medals, including 10 to veterans from Indiana. Over the years, the award has been presented to sports figures, actors and authors, including Audie Murphy, a World War II Medal of Honor recipient and actor; author Victor Hugo; and actor Clint Eastwood. The ceremony in the General Pershing Auditorium at the Indiana War Memorial on Thursday was the latest gesture by the French government to thank, more than 60 years after the invasion of Normandy, the men who freed their country from the Germans. "For us, the French people, you are heroes," Jean-Baptiste de Boissiere, the consul general of the French Consulate in Chicago, told the veterans. Proud of their service, yes. But heroes, no, the Army veterans insisted after the ceremony, in which five veterans from Indiana, one from Illinois and another from Kentucky received the medal. "People have called us heroes at times," said Jack Wilson, 83, Rockport. "We weren't heroes. We came back; we were survivors. The heroes didn't come home." The Legion of Honour medal is the highest award given by the French Republic for outstanding service to France. In 2004, in recognition of the 60th anniversary of D-Day, then-French President Jacques Chirac invited World War II veterans who fought in France to apply for the honor. Among those who accepted the offer was Paul Moxley, 86, who grew up on the Southside of Indianapolis and was a star on the Cathedral football and basketball teams. As Moxley stood in the lobby of the memorial with the medal hanging from a red ribbon, he said he could remember the voices of scores of people singing the French national anthem after U.S. troops liberated Cherbourg. "They had been under the thumb of the Germans for five years, and they needed some way to express how they felt," Moxley said. "That went right through me, to see these people, older people, with tears in their eyes." After attending Indiana University for a couple of years, he left school to take a job with the Illinois Central Railroad, and that's when he got his draft notice in 1942. He ended up going to officer training school, becoming a "90-day wonder," he said of his training. When D-Day arrived, Moxley had yet to see combat. His group, L Company of the 39th Infantry, 9th Division, landed on Utah Beach four days after the start of the invasion on June 6, 1944. His regiment was known for its distinctive marking on its jeeps, guns and helmets -- three A's with a bar through them that stood for "anything, anywhere, anytime, bar none," Moxley explained. A sergeant from Pittsburgh, Mike Natale, who had seen combat in Africa and Sicily, took Moxley under his wing. Moxley recalled having difficulty telling the difference between the sound of incoming and outgoing shells. Natale solved the problem by tapping him on the shoulder and advising Moxley to duck when he did. Moxley was wounded twice, once by a sniper. After the war, he returned to Indianapolis and went back to work for the railroad, retiring after 40 years. He raised a family with his wife, Marion, who died in 2004. Sitting in the front row of the auditorium were a granddaughter, Jennifer Longardner, Carmel, and her children, Marion, 2 months, and Quintin, a 2-year-old. Longardner said Moxley has started speaking about the war only in the past few years. "It was amazing to hear some of the things he went through and the courage he must have had to go through it," she said. "It was incredible to see him up there," she said of the ceremony. At least 20 members of his family watched as he received the medal. Clyde Cutrell, 86, Newport, said, "I saw my share" of action in the war. He was wounded three times. "I couldn't believe I was getting it (the medal)," Cutrell said. "I didn't think I had done anything that outstanding to get an award like that." Besides, he said, "all of them boys that didn't make it back, they are the heroes." Arlis Sizemore, 84, Logansport, said the ceremony made him think again how lucky he had been to live through the war. "The Lord was with me, I guess." Billy Wells, 82, Linton, said he was amazed to be getting such an honor. "I don't have the words to express how humble I feel that the French president would take time to honor a lowly American soldier," Wells said of the certificate that bears the president's signature. "That's something to have the president of France to go clear out and touch me after all these years." This is great stuff.