NEW CITY, N.Y. -- When the allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, in 1944, it was not only the biggest amphibious invasion in history, it was the beginning of the end of World War II.
But you don’t have to tell Rockland residents Rose Blickstein and Maurice Solomon that; they were right there, in the thick of it.
The two veterans were honored by county officials Monday at ceremonies marking D-Day’s 72nd anniversary.
Blickstein, 95, of Nanuet, and Solomon, 93, of Suffern, were presented with certificates of appreciation by County Executive Ed Day.
According to the county executive, Solomon landed on Omaha Beach on the first day of the invasion as a member of the 294th Joint Assault Signal Company.
Omaha Beach was actually a code name for one of the five sectors of the invasion – in this case, the U.S. Army, Navy and Coast Guard were assisted by the British Royal Navy.
According to a lohud.com report, he was only 21 and part of an Army team specializing in communications that were critical to pulling off such a massive operation.
France awarded Solomon the Croix De Guerre (Cross of War) with Palm by the president of France.
The square-cross medal featuring two crossed swords was given to soldiers who have performed heroic deeds in combat, and who were recognized by headquarters.
They were also given to military allies, like Solomon, for distinguished acts during battle.
Blickstein was stationed at Utah Beach, where she helped set up a hospital for wounded soldiers, Day said.
The object of taking Utah Beach was to secure a beachhead on the Cotentin Peninsula, where important port facilities were located.
Blickstein, who is also the widow of a World War II soldier, had just stepped outside her hospital team when it was shelled by the enemy, the lohud.com story said.
Blickstein was hurled to the ground by the explosion and, although she survived, was left with permanent hearing loss, Day said.
“We'll never forget these heroes,” said Day at the ceremony honoring all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
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