August 27, 2017
Montgomery business and community leader Nimrod T. Frazer receives French Knighthood
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – During a special ceremony held this evening at Maxwell Air Force Base, longtime Montgomery business and community leader Nimrod T. Frazer received France’s highest national decoration, the Legion of Honor.
Dignitaries attending the ceremony included Consul General of France Louis de Corail, who gave special remarks. Following his presentation, U.S. World War I Centennial Commissioner Dr. Monique B. Seefried presented the Legion of Honor medal to Mr. Frazer.
For more than two centuries, the Legion of Honor has been bestowed upon those considered models of French civic service. It was founded on the principles of individual merit, universal recognition and contribution to the public good. Mr. Frazer is among such Americans as President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Eleanor Roosevelt, Miles Davis and Barbra Streisand who have also been distinguished with the Legion of Honor.
France selected Mr. Frazer to receive its highest honor because of his efforts to keep alive the memory of French and American soldiers who fought and died in World War I and for commissioning a memorial to the Rainbow Division near Chateau-Thierry gifted to the city of Fère-en-Tardenois in 2012.
Mr. Frazer is author of Send the Alabamians: World War I Fighters in the Rainbow Division. The book tells the remarkable true story of the 167th U.S. Infantry Regiment of the famous 42nd Rainbow Division. The 167th was comprised of more than 3,600 Alabamians whose contributions in multiple battles were vital to winning the war. Their bravery in fighting alongside the French at the Battle of Croix Rouge Farm helped push back the Germans at the Ourcq River, one of the most critical points of the war. Success there came at a high price, as the Battle of Croix Rouge Farm remains the second deadliest battle in Alabama history.
In 2011, Mr. Frazer commissioned the Croix Rouge Farm Memorial. Located to the south of the French city of Fère-en-Tardenois on the site of the Battle of Croix Rouge Farm, the memorial is a bronze sculpture designed by world-renowned British sculptor James Butler, RA, that stands in honor of the 42nd Rainbow Division.
A second casting of The Rainbow Soldier will be inaugurated at Montgomery’s Union Station at 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 28 on the 100th anniversary of the 167th U.S. Infantry Regiment’s departure from Alabama to fight in France during World War I. It is a gift to the City of Montgomery from the Croix Rouge Memorial Foundation made possible through the generosity of Mr. Frazer.
It is a fitting tribute that The Rainbow Soldier will now stand in both Fère-en-Tardenois and Montgomery. Although 100 years have passed, a deep bond remains between France and Alabama in remembrance of their native sons who fought and died for a noble cause. Mr. Frazer, a military hero himself, having earned the Silver Star for his service in Korea, has dedicated much of his life to ensuring present and future generations understand the legacy of these soldiers.
For more information about Mr. Frazer’s work in France and the Croix Rouge Farm Memorial Foundation, please visit www.croixrougefarm.org.
Suggested reading: Send the Alabamians: World War I Fighters in the Rainbow Division, written by Nimrod T. Frazer, available at local retailer, Montgomery Visitor’s Center, Goat Hill Museum Gift Shop and www.amazon.com.
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