Today, President of France Francois Hollande awarded the Legion of Honor, which is the nations highest award to three Americans who helped stop a gunman aboard a train on August 21. “Your heroism must be an example for many and a source of inspiration,” Hollande told Sadler, Skarlatos, and Stone, who are childhood friends, during a ceremony in Paris.
Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler are, respectively, a member of the Oregon National Guard, an airman in the Air Force and a college student. Together they came together to stop a terrorist attack on a train bound for Paris.
The three men met in middle school according to the New York Times and decided to take a trip together. The three ended up on the train by a stroke of luck, ditching the original plan to visit Amsterdam.
In a press conference, the three men explained the events. Stone recalled waking up from his sleep to seeing a man trying to operate a broken or jammed weapon. Skarlatos, who said, “Let’s go”, then tapped him on the shoulder. Skarlatos tackled the man, pulling him to the ground and taking the weapon out of his hands, while Stone put him in a chokehold. “It seemed like he just kept pulling more weapons left and right,” Stone said.
They continued to punch and surround him. Stone grabbed him again and choked him until he was unconscious as Skarlatos hit him in the head with the butt of one of the weapons.
It was an act of heroism for three men who weren’t even looking for it. The traingoers were very thankful that those three men didn’t go to Amsterdam.