Roosevelt Statue Unveiled in Sainte-Mère-Église, France
By Chris O’Neill
On June 6th, 2022 - the 78th anniversary of D Day - a statue of Teddy Roosevelt, Jr. was unveiled in Sainte-Mère-Église, the sister city of Locust Valley since 1956, when then-US President Dwight Eisenhower first created the “Sister City” program.
Brigadier General Teddy Roosevelt Jr., was the eldest son of former President Theodore Roosevelt. He was an assistant Commander of the 4th Infantry Division, and led the first wave of troops ashore at Utah Beach on D Day.
Roosevelt died in France the following month of a heart attack. He later received, posthumously, the Medal of Honor for his heroism at Normandy.
Teddy Roosevelt Jr. also took part in WWI and, after his return, founded the American Legion in 1919.
Because of its location astride a key road that was meant to be used by the Germans to counterattack and force the Americans off the beaches, including Utah Beach, Sainte-Mère-Église played a key role during the Normandy landings.
A powerful German counterattack was foiled by the 101st and 83nd Airborne Divisions that took the town during the night parachute combat assault known as “Mission Boston.”
Mayor Jean Quetier, the former Mayor of Sainte-Mère-Église, and Susan Eisenhower, the granddaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower tasked the organization Operation Democracy (dedicated to the remembrance of D Day and its connection with Long Island) with the creation of a statute of Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.
The network of veterans groups came to the rescue – with the American Legion, the American Veterans Association, and the Friends of American Veterans – all raising funds and coordinating the creation of the statue.
The statue itself was designed and created by sculptor Pablo Eduardo in his Gloucester, Massachusetts studios. Eduardo is a talented Bolivian/American artist, also known for his statue of Darwin situated at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
The D-day anniversary dedication was led by the present Mayor of Sainte-Mère-Église, Alain Holley; the National Commander of the American Legion, Paul Dillard; veteran, historian and author Colonel Keith Nightingale, and Locust Valley’s own Cathy Cyphers Soref, Honorary President of Operation Democracy.
The ceremony was attended by five American Generals, including Generals Milley, Townsend, Donahue, Cavoli, and LaNeve. Also participating was General Tramond of France.
“I am certain that Teddy Roosevelt Jr. would be smiling during this dedication, with his clear blue eyes tinted with the sadness of the soldier,” stated Cathy Cyphers Soref. “He would be pleased to be a symbol, for generations to come; a symbol of courage, self-sacrifice, discipline and commitment to the idea that is America, articulated in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, which has given, despite flaws, more freedom and opportunity to more people than any other. Whilst others are tearing down statues…..We are building them up.”