The city of Sacramento is throwing a parade for the three local men who helped thwart a potential massacre on a train headed for Paris over the weekend.
Mayor Kevin Johnson’s office said Monday that the parade is being planned for Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos. Details were still being solidified Monday afternoon.
Also Monday, the president of France bestowed his country’s highest award, the Légion d’honneur, on the three Americans and a Briton, saying they “gave a lesson in courage” by subduing a heavily armed attacker on the train carrying 500 passengers.
President Francois Hollande pinned the medals on U.S. Airman Stone, National Guardsman Skarlatos, and their longtime friend Anthony Sadler, a student at California State University, Sacramento. All took part in subduing the gunman as he moved through the Amsterdam-to-Paris train with an assault rifle. British businessman Chris Norman, who jumped into the violent scrum to subdue the armed man, also received the medal.
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His arm in a sling and his eye bruised, Stone, 23, has said he was coming out of a deep sleep when the gunman appeared.
Skarlatos, 22, a National Guardsman who was recently back from Afghanistan, “just hit me on the shoulder and said ‘Let’s go,’” Stone said.
Stone left Monday for Ramstein, Germany, where U.S. air power in Europe is based, and then went for a military medical check at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, according to spokesman Juan Melendez.
Skarlatos also traveled Monday to Germany “to accompany his friend after the traumatic experience they went through together,” Melendez said. Sadler’s plans were not made public. Stone and Skarlatos grew up next to each other in Carmichael. Sadler, son of an Oak Park pastor, met the pair at the Christian middle school they all attended.
The French honors and the pending Sacramento parade are not the only tributes for the men. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said Monday the U.S. military services are considering “appropriate awards to recognize their heroic actions.”
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Monday that Stone already had a reputation for his valor and gung-ho attitude. Noting that she had spoken earlier in the day with Stone and his mother, James said Stone would be nominated for the Airman’s Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the Air Force for noncombat heroics.
Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force chief of staff, said Stone, whose thumb was almost severed and who suffered arm and neck injuries in the train struggle, might be eligible for a Purple Heart, the award U.S. service members receive for being wounded in combat, if the French government determines that the train attack was an act of terrorism.
James also praised Sadler, Skarlatos and Norman for helping subdue the gunman. “Had it not been for this heroic quartet, I’m quite sure that today we would be sitting here discussing a bloodbath,” she said.
Sadler was hailed as a hero by Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen.
“We are proud to say Anthony Sadler is a member of the Hornet family,” Nelsen said in a press release. “His efforts, along with those of his childhood friends, to save the train passengers in France from a terrorist attack are nothing short of heroic. I look forward to thanking him in person when he returns to campus for fall.”
Sadler, 23, is currently a senior at Sacramento State, majoring in kinesiology. He is also a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and the Philosophy Club. Nelsen said donors were lining up to help Sadler with scholarship money for his last year of study.