Northern California men who thwarted attack get France’s top honor

From the left, British businessman Chris Norman, Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento University in California, French President Francois Hollande, U.S. Airman Spencer Stone, and Alek Skarlatos a U.S. National Guardsman from Roseburg, Oregon pose at the Elysee Palace, Monday Aug.24, 2015 in Paris, France. Hollande pinned the Legion of Honor medal on U.S. Airman Spencer Stone, National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, and their years-long friend Anthony Sadler, who subdued the gunman as he moved through the train with an assault rifle strapped to his bare chest. The British businessman, Chris Norman, also jumped into the fray. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, Pool)

PARIS (KRON/AP) — The president of France pinned his country’s highest award, the Legion d’Honneur, on a Bay Area native and two others from Northern California on Monday, saying they “gave a lesson in courage” by subduing a heavily armed attacker on a high-speed train carrying 500 passengers to Paris.

President Francois Hollande paid tribute to U.S. Airman Spencer Stone, National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, and their longtime friend Anthony Sadler. The 23-year-old Sadler was born in Pittsburg and grew up in Rancho Cordova. He’s currently a senior at California State University, Sacramento.

The French president said that while two of the Americans who tackled the gunman were soldiers, “on Friday you were simply passengers. You behaved as soldiers but also as responsible men.” British businessman Chris Norman, who jumped into the fray, also received the medal.

The men showed “that faced with terror, we have the power to resist. You also gave a lesson in courage, in will, and thus in hope,” Hollande said.

The men are credited for stopping a 26-year-old suspect who allegedly walked into a train car armed with an automatic rifle.

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