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Monday, August 24, 2015

Heroism against terrorism

"By their courage, they saved lives," President François Hollande said. "They gave us an example of what is possible to do in these kinds of situations."

PARIS — President François Hollande of France on Monday awarded the Legion of Honor, France’s highest award, to three Americans and a Briton for their role in stopping a gunman on a high-speed train traveling to Paris from Amsterdam on Friday.

The three Americans — Airman First Class Spencer Stone, 23; Alek Skarlatos, 22, a specialist in the Oregon National Guard; and their friend Anthony Sadler, 23 — received the honor in the gilded halls of the Élysée Palace, where they were joined by Chris Norman, 62, a British consultant.

“One need only know that Ayoub El Khazzani was in possession of 300 rounds of ammunition and firearms to understand what we narrowly avoided, a tragedy, a massacre,” Mr. Hollande said at the ceremony, referring to the Moroccan suspect in the attack, who is in police custody but denies plans to stage a terrorist attack.

Although the world of terrorism has proven nearly impossible to confront on any coordinated international level, the response by heroes who "see something-do something" may be another way of changing the dynamic of this ferociously heinous violence.

As Americans remember how heroes on Flight 96 took charge of terorist hyjackers on September 11, there have been multiple other occasions when alert citizens have averted impending disasters.  

In France, a team of responders who were on a high speed train from Paris to Amsterdam, subdued a heavily armed Muslim man who has now claimed he was only going to rob the train. Really? A lone Muslim wanted to rob a train?  Well, thankfully, he won't rob anymore lives in his delusional frenzies because he was prevented from using his arsenal of weapons because of citizen heroes.

France has already honored these heroic responders with the Legion of Honor Medal.

France honors 3 Americans, Briton for stopping train attack
By Faith Karimi and Nic Robertson, CNN

(CNN)They grew up together, fought off an attacker together and accepted a nation's honor together.

Three days after they pounced and subdued a gunman aboard a packed train, American childhood friends Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos got the Legion of Honor -- France's highest recognition. Fellow British passenger Chris Norman, who helped tackle the gunman, also received the award during Monday's ceremony at the Élysée Palace.

In fact, Americans are probably, unknowingly,  a "citizens" army, because it's likely many heroes have prevented carnage, as a result of our increased awareness.

Although the heroes who subdued the gunman on the high speed European train are rightly honored by the French, their actions are also a warning to other terrorists who lurk in the nefarious shadows. Citizens have role models of heroism, and they will take whatever actions are necessary to prevent terrorism from consuming our world.

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