At a ceremony in Hauppauge on Tuesday, veterans, families and local officials gathered to honor and remember the 79th anniversary of D-Day, when more than 150,000 American and allied soldiers stormed the beaches and skies over Normandy. NewsdayTV's Steve Langford reports.  Credit: Kendall Rodriguez; AP

Gale Monroe can still recall her father, Tech Sgt. Charles Monroe, describing the storming of the beaches of Normandy to help liberate Europe from the Nazi-led Axis forces.

A member of the Army's 101st Airborne, Charles Monroe parachuted onto the French coastline on June 6, 1944, joining 160,000 allied troops whose bravery, heroism and sacrifice turned the tide of World War II, forever changing the course of history. 

Monroe died in 1998 at the age of 77 but his daughter keeps his memory alive, carrying a large cardboard cutout of her father at veterans' events across the island.

"It's important to keep [the memory] alive," Gale Monroe, of Babylon, said Tuesday as Suffolk lawmakers, veterans, advocates and Gold Star parents marked the 79th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, which left an estimated 9,000 allies soldiers dead or injured. "I just feel it that not enough people know and remember. So this is important for everybody that's served and sacrificed."

Tuesday's ceremony, held at the outdoor Armed Forces Plaza in Hauppauge, featured generations of veterans, from World War II and Vietnam to those who served in Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The event included a solemn annual ritual at Suffolk D-Day ceremonies — the raising of an American flag that County Executive Steve Bellone took to Normandy's American Cemetery and Memorial at Omaha Beach for the 75th anniversary of D-Day 2019.

The flag has been raised every June 6 since outside the H. Lee Dennison Building to honor the 90,000 veterans living in Suffolk — the most of any county in the state.

Bellone noted the parallels between the bravery of Americans on D-Day and the efforts by the Ukrainian people to fight against Russian president Vladimir Putin's hostile incursion.

"Fundamentally, this was about what kind of world are we going to live in," Bellone said. "A world of freedom or tyranny? D-Day veterans and World War II veterans fought for freedom. Today, as we mark the 79th anniversary of the D-Day invasion to liberate Europe from tyranny, we see war once again raging on the continent. We see … the Ukrainian people refusing to be subjugated by a tyrannical leader."

Army Cpl. David Wolman did not step foot in France but played a critical behind-the-scenes role from England as a control tower operator, helping guide the flight of Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers on missions against German troops in a D-Day offensive known as "Operation Overlord."

For three days, Wolman, 101, who lives at Long Island State Veterans Home in Stony Brook, never left that tower, working round-the-clock to make sure his fellow servicemen returned home safe.

David L. Wolman, is shown a flag prior to raising...

David L. Wolman, is shown a flag prior to raising of the flag outside Armed Forces Plaza in Hauppauge on Tuesday, as his daughter Nancy Wolman, of Centereach, looks on. Credit: James Carbone

"I'm alive and I made it home," said Wolman, who attends the ceremony annually with his daughter, Nancy Wolman. "But I am missing all the people [who didn't return home.]"

Nancy Wolman said her father, who is recovering from a stroke, is a fighter.

"They are resilient, this generation," she said.

Tom Ronayne, the longtime director of the Suffolk Veterans Service Agency, who was honored Tuesday in advance of his impending retirement, said it's critical to remember "those who came before us; those who served; those who wore the uniform, those who went where they were asked and did the job that they were asked to do with dignity and honor."

Elsewhere Tuesday, the Museum of American Armor in Old Bethpage marked D-Day with a wreath-laying ceremony and the tolling of five bells — one for each of the beaches that were allied destinations.

"We have a solemn obligation to a generation that is passing that the valor, sacrifice and courage displayed on those beaches will never be forgotten," said Museum senior trustee Michael Sapraicone.

LIRR delays … Inside Suffolk executive race … Visit downtown Centerport Credit: Newsday/NewsdayTV

Updated 42 minutes ago Cyclist killed ... Bus crash injury update ... Band director, chaperone remembered ... Blaze returns

LIRR delays … Inside Suffolk executive race … Visit downtown Centerport Credit: Newsday/NewsdayTV

Updated 42 minutes ago Cyclist killed ... Bus crash injury update ... Band director, chaperone remembered ... Blaze returns

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