The Ahepan Winter 2020 - 24

VETERANS

French Government Presents Perakos with Highest Honor
The French government awarded Past District 7 Governor
Sperie Perakos with the Legion d'Honneur at a ceremony held at
Perakos' home in Orange, Conn., October 29, 2020. The French
" Legion of Honor " is the highest honor awarded to a civilian by
the French government. Napolean Bonaparte created the award
in 1802 to recognize individuals for acts of exceptional achievement for the Republic of France and her people.
French Deputy Consul General Damian Laban presented the
award to Brother Perakos for his service and courage as part of
the Allied Forces in World War II. Sperie served as a captain and
Combat Intelligence officer in the 448th Anti-Aircraft Artillery
Battalion, landing in France as part of the Normandy invasion.
He served under General George Patton in the Third Army,
helping to liberate Sainte-Mère-Église, one of the first territories freed by the U.S. Army. The mayor of that village presented
Perakos with the city's Coat of Arms. He went on to serve behind
the enemy lines in reconnaissance and surveillance, assisting
the French army and insurgents in battling Nazi troops.
Brother Perakos accepted this great honor stating, " With
deep humility, I share the French Legion of Honor with my
comrades in arms-in Normandy- 1944-our Thermopylae. With
unabiding sadness, I further share this significant honor with

24 | THE AHEPAN · Winter 2020	

those of us, who, today, lie in France-under white crosses and
stars of David-My Eternal Band of Brothers! "
A small group of dignitaries and friends attended the ceremony, including retired U.S. Army Major Patrick W. Dugan,
whose father, Staff Sargent William Dugan, served with Perakos
at Normandy. Dugan drove from Ohio to present Perakos with
the American flag. Symbolically, retired Major Dugan and
Deputy Consul Laban sprinkled soil from Utah Beach under
Perakos's feet indicating, " the people of France now trod on soil
liberated by the Allied Forces. "
Brother Perakos, a graduate of Yale University, is an AHEPA
Life Member, and a parishioner of St. Barbara Greek Orthodox
Church, in Orange.
Also attending the ceremony were: Adrian Bonenberg, who
served in Afghanistan and is president of the Yale University's
Veterans Association; Allison Fox, spouse of a deceased Yale
classmate, Joe Fox, who also served in World War II; and Past
Supreme Counselor Gregory Stamos, longtime Perakos family
friend whose father, Peter, served in the Battle of Bulge.
According to Stamos, Deputy Consul Laban noted that the
nation of France shares common values with Greece and the
Order of AHEPA, " Liberté, égalité, fraternité. "

www.ahepa.org


http://www.ahepa.org

The Ahepan Winter 2020

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