Last week, Congressman Tom Suozzi participated in a bipartisan Congressional Delegation to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the allied D-Day invasion in Normandy, France. Suozzi and the members of Congress paid tribute and partook in ceremonies with Presidents Trump and Macron to honor those lost during the Battle of Normandy.
“This experience was truly sobering and humbling. Seventy-five years later, the sacrifice made on the altar of Normandy must be remembered and revered. These brave souls demand that we earn the sacrifice they made by lifting up our freedom and our democracy and participating in our politics and government in a way that is more noble,” said Suozzi.
While in Normandy, Suozzi visited the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer and paid his respects to the 21 soldiers from the 3rd Congressional District who are interred there. Suozzi laid wreaths at the grave of Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., son of President Theodore Roosevelt, as well as at the graves of 15 soldiers, and at the Tablets of the Missing, which memorializes the five soldiers who are listed as missing in action.
At General Roosevelt’s grave, Suozzi held a brief ceremony, said a prayer of thanksgiving, and spread a handful of dirt brought with him from Sagamore Hill, the childhood home of Roosevelt, a Medal of Honor recipient, like his father.
“At age 56, General Roosevelt was the oldest soldier in the D-Day invasion and the only general to land by sea with the first wave of troops. Using a cane due to arthritis, General Roosevelt calmly urged his troops on amidst the incredible attacks. He survived D-Day but succumbed to a heart attack five weeks later,” said Suozzi. “Years later, General Omar Bradley was asked, ‘What was the bravest thing you ever saw in your military career?’ Bradley responded, ‘Ted Roosevelt on the beach in Normandy.’”
Suozzi also visited the small village of Sainte-Mère-Église, the first French village to be liberated by the Allies after D-Day. He met with the mayor, Jean Quétier, presenting him with a flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol.
Sainte-Mère-Église is the sister city of Locust Valley. In 1944, Life magazine ran a photo of the wife of the mayor of Ste-Mère-Église placing flowers on the grave of Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. The photo inspired residents of Locust Valley to “adopt” the village as a “sister city,” sending supplies to the war-ravaged village. Within a year, nearly 200 American cities had followed Locust Valley’s lead, adopting sister cities all over the world. In 1956, President Eisenhower officially formed Sister Cities International.
Additionally, Suozzi visited the Normandy Institute, an international educational residence with a mission to foster understanding and inspiration from the historic events of D-Day. He met with Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower, who presented both Suozzi and his colleague Congressman Jeff Fortenberry with medals recognizing their efforts in promoting the history of D-Day and the Normandy Invasion.
Interred at the American Cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer, France:
Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. of Oyster Bay, 4th Infantry Division
Private Charles Byrnes of Hicksville, 116th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division
Private Walter Dawiskiba of Locust Valley, 175th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division
Private First-Class Lawrence Hills of Huntington, 121st Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division
Private Edmund Kawiecki of Port Washington, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division
First Lieutenant Harry Koeppel of Locust Valley, 119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division
Private Walter Korrow of Jericho, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
Private First-Class Chester Nakelski of Port Washington, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment,
101st Airborne Division
Technical Sergeant Walter Newman of Port Washington, 314th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry
Private First-Class Chester Puchalski of Glen Head, 13 Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division
Private First-Class James Rice of Great Neck, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division
Technician Fifth Grade Ralph Spiezia of Huntington Station, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry
Technician Fifth Grade Andrew Stuckey of Manhasset, 802nd Tank Destroyer Battalion
Technician Fifth Grade Kenneth Geiler of Queens Village, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment,
82nd Airborne Division
Private First-Class Rudolph Stalzer of Kings Park, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment,
101st Airborne Division
Technical Sergeant Igor Vassilieff of Great Neck, 1141st Engineer Combat Group
Tablets of the Missing at the American Cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer, France
Lieutenant John Behrens of Whitestone, US Navy
Lieutenant JG Joseph Capelli of Whitestone, US Naval Reserves
Coxswain Edward De Bias of East Northport, US Naval Reserves
Private Annella Miranda of Huntington, 749th Tank Battalion
Corporal Gustave Norell of Hicksville, 749th Tank Battalion