Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler – those three names are now linked to a heroic, split-second decision to take down an armed suspect aboard a high speed train in France. “So you have given us a lesson of courage, of determination and therefore of hope”, Hollande said.
“A terrorist chose to commit an act”.
“You risked your lives to defend an ideal, the ideal of liberty and freedom”, Hollande said. That included a French passenger and a Franco-American who has been hospitalized for his wounds.
The Americans, the Briton and the French citizen have been praised for stopping what could have been a bloodbath. They will receive the Legion of Honor in a separate ceremony.
Alek and his friends have received Legion of Honor Medals for their bravery and have become national heroes.
Mr. Stone said Monday that a French man who was the first person that tried to stop the gunman “deserves a lot of the credit”.
The Thalys attack came just several months after two armed gunmen, Said and Cherif Kouachi, stormed the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 and wounding many more.
The Americans appeared slightly overwhelmed as they received France’s highest honour. “I just looked over at Spencer and said, ‘Let’s go, ‘” he told the press.
“In terms of crisis like that, I would want it to be learned that basically to do something”.
“The world is not only threatened by global warming, it is facing a terrorism that has never before reached this level of barbarity, nor seriousness in decades”, said Hollande.
American Spencer Stone, who was slashed with the gunman’s box cutter, underwent surgery to reattach his thumb and has since been released from the hospital.
Using their fists and a chokehold, the three men finally rendered the suspect unconscious and tied him up, with help from other passengers.
The president of Sacramento State University in California says donors are lining up to help Anthony Sadler with scholarship money for his previous year studying kinesiology. Speaking as he left the Elysee, Norman said it was “a little bit hard to believe that it’s actually happened”.
“I think what I would like to do is to try to really do honour to what has been given to me”.
French Interior Minister Brenard Cazeneuve said the suspect, Ayoub El Khazzani, a Moroccan, might have links to radical Islam, but his lawyer said on French television that he was merely trying to rob the train.
He boarded the train in Brussels shortly before the attack.