NEW ORLEANS -- They helped win World War II. Capt. Ervin Aden can still wear his original uniform, but said others deserved the awards.
"My men followed me, we did what we were supposed to do, so they should get more honor than I do," Aden said.
"Helping to save civilization itself," said National World War II Museum Director Nick Meuller.
French Legion Of Honor medals were presented to eight Louisiana veterans at the museum.
"It's a great honor," said New Orleans veteran Frank Peragine. "I think it is because primarily because I survived so long."
Some still carry the physical and mental scars of horrific battles.
"It was hell," said Houma veteran Albert Lasseigne.
"125 days in combat, without relief, infantry, and it was tough," said Breaux Bridge veteran Joseph Latiolais.
"I landed in Normandy, and the fighting was so bad and everything," said New Orleans veteran Al Goudeau.
"And participated in some of the fiercest battles in modern history, on foreign soil, far away," said French Consul Jean Claude Brunet.
For the French Consul, it was the chance to thank the American soldiers who liberated France from the German war machine when they were just in out of their teens.
"It was a happy sight to see them, even though they were so emotional, tears streaming down their faces," said Slidell veteran Anderson Wilson.
Now they are Knights in the Order of the Legion of Honor.
"Oh well, it's something that will pass," said Gonzales veteran John Remel with a laugh.
They still have their sense of humor.