18:52 | Pucallpa (Ucayali region), Sep. 13.
Defense Minister Jorge Moscoso on Friday presided over the ceremony to present the Armed Forces' War Cross Medal for Bravery in the grade of Honor to Jorge Sanjinez — a 102-year-old Peruvian veteran of the Allied Landing in Normandy in 1944.
Moscoso was joined by Head of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces, Commander General Cesar Astudillo, Ucayali Region Governor Francisco Pezo, Coronel Portillo Province Mayor Segundo Perez, as well as Belgian Embassy Commercial Attaché Sarah Kerremans.
In his speech, Minister Moscoso thanked Sanjinez for his fight and underlined the veteran's service vocation and fulfilment of duties, which made him leave his homeland, take up arms, and travel abroad to defend the world's freedom in other countries, representing the Inca nation and fulfilling his mission.
On his part, Sanjinez expressed gratitude to the Peruvian Government and the Armed Forces for the award.
Likewise, the veteran stressed that he learned how to be a soldier thanks to the training he received.
However, he pointed out he does not support wars.
According to the Royal National Federation of Veterans of the Piron Brigade, Sanjinez —who had applied for Belgian citizenship after the war, but in vain— attended a ceremony in memory of the first Belgian soldier killed at the Battle of Normandy on August 17, 1944.
Under British command, the Piron Brigade numbered 2,000 men who spoke 33 different languages. Twenty-seven were killed in action during the Normandy campaign and 65 were seriously wounded, according to the Federation's website.
In 1944, he took part in the liberation of French communities: Cabourg (August 21), Deauville (August 22), Honfleur (August 24), and Brussels (September 3).
The award ceremony took place at the Provincial Municipality of Coronel Portillo in Pucallpa (Ucayali region).