Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Long Island, Queens) honored service members who made the ultimate sacrifice during a trip to Normandy, France to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Allied D-Day Invasion there. Suozzi and other members of a Congressional delegation paid tribute in ceremonies with President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron to honor those lost during the Battle of Normandy.
“This experience was truly sobering and humbling,” Suozzi said. “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.”
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 Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., son of President Theodore Roosevelt; at the graves of 15 soldiers; and at the “Tablets of the Missing,” which memorialize the five soldiers who are listed as missing in action.
At Roosevelt’s grave Suozzi said a prayer of thanksgiving and spread a handful of dirt he had brought with him from Sagamore Hill, Roosevelt’s childhood home in Oyster Bay. Roosevelt was, like his father, a Medal of Honor recipient.
“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,” Suozzi said. “Using a cane due to arthritis, Gen. Roosevelt calmly urged his troops on amidst the incredible attacks. He survived D-Day but succumbed to a heart attack five weeks later.
“Years later, when Gen. Omar Bradley was asked, ‘what was the bravest thing you ever saw in your military career?’ he responded, ‘Ted Roosevelt on the beach in Normandy.’”
Suozzi also visited Sainte-Mère-Église, the first French village to be liberated by the Allies after D-Day. There he met the mayor, Jean Quétier, and presented him with a flag that flew over the US Capitol.
Sainte-Mère-Église is the sister city of Locust Valley, part of the congressman’s district. The relationship came about in 1944 when 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 Locust Valley residents to adopt the village as a “sister city.” They sent supplies to the war-ravaged village, and started a movement that would continue to grow.
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.
Suozzi also visited the Normandy Institute, an international educational residence with a mission to foster understanding and inspiration from the historic events of D-Day. There he met with Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who presented both Suozzi and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry with medals recognizing their efforts in promoting the history of D-Day and the Normandy Invasion.
The following service members from the Third Congressional District are interred at the American Cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer, France.
Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Oyster Bay, 4th Infantry Division
Pvt. Charles Byrnes, Hicksville, 116th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division
Pvt. Walter Dawiskiba, Locust Valley, 175th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division
Pvt. First Class Lawrence Hills, Huntington, 121st Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division
Pvt. Edmund Kawiecki, Port Washington, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division
1st Lieut. Harry Koeppel, Locust Valley, 119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division
Pvt. Walter Korrow, Jericho, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
Pvt. First-Class Chester Nakelski, Port Washington, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
Tech. Sgt. Walter Newman, Port Washington, 314th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division
Pvt. First-Class Chester Puchalski, Glen Head, 13 Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division
Pvt. First-Class James Rice, Great Neck, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division
Technician Fifth Grade Ralph Spiezia, Huntington Station, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division
Technician Fifth Grade Andrew Stuckey, Manhasset, 802nd Tank Destroyer Battalion
Technician Fifth Grade Kenneth Geiler, Queens Village, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Pvt. First-Class Rudolph Stalzer, Kings Park, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
Tech. Sgt Igor Vassilieff, Great Neck, 1141st Engineer Combat Group
Tablets of the Missing
at American Cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer, France
Lt. John Behrens, Whitestone, US Navy
Lt. JG Joseph Capelli, Whitestone, US Naval Reserves
Coxswain Edward De Bias, East Northport, US Naval Reserves
Pvt. Annella Miranda, Huntington, 749th Tank Battalion
Cpl. Gustave Norell, Hicksville, 749th Tank Battalion