Paris - US Secretary of State John Kerry is now an officer in France's Legion of Honour.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault bestowed the award on Kerry on Saturday after the two held talks on Syria's war.
Calling him a "friend to France," the Foreign Ministry said he earned the distinction for "his indefatigable efforts in favour of peace."
Accepting the award, an emotional Kerry recalled visiting Normandy D-Day beaches as a child with his French mother and watching her cry.
"That's when I began to understand the cost of war and the need for all of us to keep fighting for peace, always."
He also hailed Napoleon for creating the Legion.
Kerry has visited Paris countless times as secretary of state for high-level diplomatic meetings on Syria, Ukraine and other hot spots.