Hollande Awards Foilers of Train Attack France’s Highest Honor

President Francois Hollande
President Francois Hollande, left, receives Ambassador Jane Hartley, center, and Spencer Stone, second right, Anthondy Sadler, right, and Alek Skarlatos, second left, at Elysee Palace in Paris, on Aug. 24. Photographer: Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

President Francois Hollande awarded France’s highest honor to three Americans and a British citizen as he thanked them for preventing a terrorist attack on a train headed to Paris.

The gunman touting a Kalashnikov on a train to Paris from Amsterdam was tackled and pinned to the floor Friday by Americans Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler, with the help of the U.K.’s Chris Norman.

“Since Friday, France has admired your courage and level-headedness,” Hollande said in presenting them with the Legion d’Honneur. In doing so, he said, the four embody the “good of humanity” in contrast with the “evil of terrorism.”

France is on high alert after suffering several attacks this year, including by terrorists against satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, prompting the government to mobilize 7,000 soldiers to guard vulnerable sites. The Interior Ministry is maintaining Paris and the capital region under the maximum “attack threat” level.

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