The government of France has given its highest military award to five area veterans.

The rare award, the French Legion of Honour, was given to the retired members of the 1st Hussars for their roles on D-Day.

A ceremony was held in Victoria Park on Sunday morning to recognize the men. 

“Some might say it’s a little late, but we're appreciative of the honour being bestowed on our soldiers today,” says 1st Hussars Lt.-Col.  R.A. Phillips.

Almost 360 Canadian soldiers died in D-Day battles, fighting to liberate France from German occupation.

The honour Sunday was a way for France to say thanks.

“Please allow me to express once more, France's respect for your contribution to the combat that lead to the liberation of my country,” stated a letter from France’s ambassador in Canada.

“This is an honour to receive this medal, this award,” said Jim Fisher. “And I share this honour with all 1st Hussars.

Although the Legion of Honour is the highest decoration that the French government can award, many veterans say it’s bittersweet.

“Two hundred of our men over there should have got it,” says Bill Bury.

Along with Bury and Fisher, Phil Cockburn, Bill Reed and Ken MacGillivray received the honour.