Retired Army Capt. Florent Groberg — a University of Maryland graduate who was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2015 — will lead what’s billed as the nation’s largest event honoring veterans in New York City this fall.
Groberg grew up in France and moved to Maryland as a child, where he graduated from Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda. While serving in Afghanistan in August of 2012, he was credited with saving many lives by shoving a suicide bomber to the ground, hindering the effectiveness of an attack that killed four men.
He will serve as grand marshal of the New York City Veterans Day Parade in Manhattan on Nov. 11, which is run by the United War Veterans Council.
The parade's featured service branch this year is the U.S. Army and is honoring the 100-year anniversary of World War I.
Groberg joined the Army in 2008 after graduating from the University of Maryland in 2006.
In November of 2015, President Barack Obama awarded him the highest military honor for his life-saving efforts in Afghanistan. He was seriously injured and medically retired in 2015.
“It is a great honor to serve as the Grand Marshall of the 2018 NYC Veterans Day Parade," Groberg said in a statement. “Just 100 years ago, more than 41 million lives were lost during World War One. France, one of our greatest allies, lost well over a million citizens.
“As a naturalized United States citizen born in France, I truly appreciate 'The American Dream,’ and understand the importance and value of the bonds we share with our allies,” he continued. “As our history has shown us, alliances are forged by brave men and women willing to sacrifice their lives for the greater good of the nation and the world. God Bless America and her allies.”
The executive director of the United War Veterans Council, Mark Otto, said Groberg’s “heroism in uniform and continued commitment to our veterans embodies the very essence of what service to our nation is about.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Ian Duncan contributed to this article.