Better late than never.
A well-meaning group of soldier-boosters from France awarded a Brooklyn Heights World War II veteran a prestigious medal of honor — 68 years after he fought to save their country.
Norman Wasserman, 87, received a coveted French Legion of Honor award last week for fighting Nazis in one of the war’s bloodiest battles, surviving sniper bullets, bombs, and land mines — not to mention a post-war career in public relations — before taking home the honor.
The medal symbolizes “France’s infinite gratitude and appreciation” for his bravery, according to the Consulat General De France.
“It feels wonderful — it’s was a very touching ceremony,” Wasserman said.
Wasserman helped Allied troops as a teenager during the notorious Battle of the Bulge by watching for the flash of gunfire and using hidden microphones to listen for the sound of enemy artillery.
The six-week offensive by German forces took place on a frozen chunk of ground in Luxembourg, France, and Belgium, resulting in nearly 90,000 American casualties.
War vet Ed Marinello, who served in Wasserman’s battalion, said the award is important despite its tardy arrival.
“It means a lot — he was a great soldier and we were really in the thick of it,” he said.
An official from Consulat General De France didn’t return calls seeking comment on Tuesday, but Wasserman said the medal’s timing is linked to the now-more-friendly relationship between the United States and France.
And Marinello — who is also in his eighties — said it’s good the French finally got around to it.
“They probably want to recognize us while we’re still around,” he said.Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not BrooklynDaily.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynDaily.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.