American Legion National Commander Charles Schmidt and American Legion Auxiliary National President Mary Davis salute the heroes of Normandy at a wreath-laying ceremony Tuesday in France. Photo by Jeff Stoffer

A flag to remember D-Day

A group of D-Day veterans from South Dakota, unable to attend Tuesday's 73rd anniversary of the World War II Allied invasion, will have something to remember from this year's commemoration in France anyway.

Brent Saucerman, a safety and occupational health specialist for the Black Hills VA Health Care System, brought a 5-by-7-foot U.S. flag to the Normandy American Cemetery and unfurled it alongside the top leaders of The American Legion Family, in tribute to the World War II veterans back home in Hot Springs, S.D.

American Legion National Commander Charles Schmidt, American Legion Auxiliary National President Mary Davis, Sons of The American Legion National Commander Jeff Frain, American Legion Department of France national executive committeewoman and USAA Senior Vice President A.B. Cruz earlier placed wreaths at the cemetery in memory of the more than 10,000 Americans buried there or listed as missing in action.

Following the wreath-laying ceremony provided by American Battle Monuments Commission officials at the cemetery, Saucerman spoke with Schmidt, Frain and Davis about the flag he planned to deliver to the veterans at Hot Springs VA Medical Center, which The American Legion has worked to keep open as a full-service hospital.

The Legion Family group was delighted to help unfurl, display and help fold the flag back into a triangle for proper delivery.

Also Tuesday morning, The American Legion Family group visited the grave of Theodore Roosevelt Jr., who helped lead the formation of The American Legion in Paris in 1919.

A group of Sons of The American Legion from the Detachment of France joined in the ceremonies as well.