CARY On June 6, 1944, David Gordon stood in front of a wooden landing-craft door near Normandy, France, listening to the rap-tap-tap of artillery shells in the distance.
He listened and he knew there was nowhere to go but out out into the water, onto the beach and up the hill toward the German guns.
So Gordon, now 89, a member of the 30th Infantry Division, waded into the waves and toward the first of many fights and the first of many wounds, propelled by patriotism and duty and the inexorable drop of a big, wooden door.
Monday, the French consulate will thank Gordon and five other soldiers who fought in France during World War II by bestowing on them its highest honor, the French Legion of Honor. Gordon and the others, all from the Carolinas, will be knighted as chevaliers of the French Legion of Honor on Monday afternoon in Charlotte.
The French government awards the Legion of Honor to World War II veterans who fought to secure the liberation of France between 1944 and 1945 in one of four major military campaigns at Normandy, Provence, Ardennes or Northern France.
About 100 people are nominated for the award each year, said Claire Collobert Angelle, press attaché for the Consulate General of France in Atlanta. Special consideration is given to those with distinguished service records.
The Legion of Honor is not given posthumously, but Angelle said the government will continue to award it as long as World War II veterans are living.
I think for the amount of courage that they showed, it is never too late to show recognition, she said.