Two Long Island congressmen marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day at a somber observance in Normandy, where President Donald Trump and his French counterpart praised the bravery of the tens of thousands of Allied troops who helped turn the tide of World War II.
Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) and Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) joined dozens of their colleagues and several American World War II veterans to hear the tributes by Trump and President Emmanuel Macron.
A crowd of thousands gathered at the Normandy American Cemetery to pay their respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. The cemetery is the final resting place for nearly 9,500 troops who lost their lives on June 6, 1944.
“The thousands of Allied soldiers and Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice that day laid down their lives for the betterment of our entire world for generations to come," said Zeldin, an Army veteran. "We can never repay them for their service and sacrifice. Instead it is our duty to ensure the legend, legacy and purpose of these heroes forever live on.”
Suozzi described the ceremony as "incredibly sobering and humbling.”
"I was moved to tears as the over 10,000 attendees stood to applaud and thank the surviving D-Day veterans," Suozzi said. "The president of France offering a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to our veterans and the American people was inspiring.”
On Friday, Suozzi will visit the graves of 21 soldiers who once lived in his congressional district and perished during the push into France.
One was Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt III, the eldest son of President Theodore Roosevelt, who died in France a month after the invasion.
Roosevelt, the only general on D-Day to come ashore with the first wave of troops, was awarded the Medal of Honor "for gallantry and intrepidity" that included walking amid the gunfire to embolden his embattled soldiers. His son, Capt. Quentin Roosevelt II, also landed on D-Day.
Suozzi will place a handful of soil from the Sagamore Hill estate on the general’s grave. The general spent his childhood at the estate.