Sixty-six years ago, Sgt. John R. Simonetti, a 26 year old Army Ranger with the Second Infantry Division, landed on Omaha Beach the day after D-Day. Nine days later he was shot by a German sniper and died in a French cow pasture on June 16, 1944. In the chaos of battle, his body was not recovered and his family never gave up hope that he would one day return from World War II.
Just days before the 65th anniversary of D-Day in May of 2009, a construction crew working on a broken water main in Saint-Germain-d’Elle, France, unearthed the skeletal remains of Sgt. Simonetti, still wearing his dog tags. Exhaustive DNA testing of the remains followed and finally the official word came down that Uncle John, as his younger relatives came to know him, was coming home to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
His Eminence, Edward Cardinal Egan prepares to preside over the funeral mass at the Chapel at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia for Sgt. John R. Simonetti, a 26-year-old Army Ranger from Queens, N.Y.
United States Army Honor Guard of the The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, prepare to load the coffin into a waiting hearse at the Chapel at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia after the funeral mass for Sgt. John R. Simonetti.
Charlie Salerno, 8, of New York and a relative of Sgt. John R. Simonetti, prays as a United States Army Honor Guard of the The 3d U.S. Infantry Regimen, fold the flag covering the coffin, during the funeral in Arlington National Cemetery.
Surrounded by family and friends, Marilyn Duell, 72, Miami, Florida, the oldest niece of the family of Sgt. Simonetti, receives the flag from his coffin at his burial in Arlington National Cemetery.