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Congressman Suozzi visited D-Day veteran Dominick Critelli and his daughter Nancy. (Photos courtesy of the Office of Congressman Tom Suozzi)

Suozzi Commemorates 80th Anniversary Of D-Day

Joins bipartisan congressional delegation in Normandy

Last week, Congressman Tom Suozzi (D – Long Island, Queens) joined with a bipartisan congressional delegation and thousands of world citizens to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Allied D-Day Invasion in Normandy, France. While in France, Suozzi visited and honored 103-year-old D-Day veteran Dominick Critelli from Floral Park alongside his daughter Nancy from Elmont.

Congressman Suozzi paid his respects at the grave of Brig. General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.

Staff Sergeant Critelli was a member of the 378th Infantry Regiment in an Artillery Aviation Unit. On June 6, 1944, his job was to keep track of his Unit’s aircraft flying intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. His Unit identified and observed enemy troop formations, their supply lines, ammunition depots, and the location of enemy fortifications. “Dominick, like my dad, was born in Italy and went on to be a great American patriot who served in WWII as a member of the ‘Greatest Generation,’” Suozzi said proudly. “During the war, my father completed 35 bombing missions, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three clusters.”

He also visited the grave of Brig. General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., son of President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt Jr. is buried at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, alongside many of the soldiers from the 3rd Congressional District who are interred there. Suozzi said a prayer of thanksgiving at the grave of Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. and spread a handful of dirt he had brought with him from Sagamore Hill, Roosevelt’s childhood home in Oyster Bay. “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.’”

This trip to France was sobering and humbling for the Congressman. “Eighty years later, the heroic sacrifice made on the altar of Normandy must be remembered, respected, and revered,” he said. “The memory of these brave souls demand that Americans 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.”

“To truly honor our war dead, we must rededicate ourselves to the cause they sacrificed for — freedom and democracy. Advocating and participating in our democracy is how we keep America strong and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” he added.

Suozzi and members of the congressional delegation were also welcomed to the French National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) in Paris with a reception and special introduction.
During his trip, Suozzi met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the George C. Marshall Center at the Hôtel de Talleyrand, part of the U.S. Embassy in Paris. They discussed the latest developments in the war and the importance of the continuation of American support and military aid. It was in the same room that in July 1947, sixteen European nations came together to negotiate what would become the Marshall Plan, an American initiative officially enacted in 1948 to provide aid to Western Europe as it struggled to overcome WWII.

Suozzi also attended a ceremony between the heads of state of the U.S. and France at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The Arc de Triomphe, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and its eternal flame symbolize French patriotism, serving as a reminder and tribute to those who died fighting against fascism. “To truly honor our war dead, we must rededicate ourselves to the cause they sacrificed for — freedom and democracy. May we never forget the service and sacrifice of our “Greatest Generation,” the Congressman concluded.

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