By Rachel Vick
Family, friends and fellow World War II veterans gathered on Thursday in the courtyard of Assisted Living Boulevard in Kew Gardens Hills to celebrate the induction of a 99-year-old Queens resident into the French Legion of Honor.
Army veteran Irving Goldstein received the honor of the Consul General of France, Mr. Jérémie Robert, who designated him “Chevalier in the National Order of the Legion of Honor” – a knight of the order National Legion of Honor, the country’s highest distinction
“Mr. Goldstein, your story is the best example of bravery and courage,” Robert said. We owe you our freedom – we will never forget. “
“We are very proud to honor you today,” he added. “We owe a debt of gratitude to your generation.”
Goldstein became moved as the ceremony concluded and the national anthems of the two nations were played.
“I am so grateful. Nothing like this has ever happened to me, ”said the already well-decorated vet. “It means a lot. ”
Goldstein joined the 439th Troop Carrier Group when he entered the war at just 21, and said he was attached to France, where he spent most of his service time.
He was there during some of the most crucial moments in the European arena, ensuring paratroopers from the 101st Airborne made their way to the beaches of Normandy and supplies were available during the Battle of the Bulge.