I recently returned from France, which included a two-day stop in Normandy. I was pursuing the story of a Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City born soldier, John R. Simonetti, the son of Italian immigrants, who was killed during the Battle of the Hedgerows, on June 16, 1944, in the fields of St. Germain d’Elle, France. (Photo attached.)  

John’s name appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France since his body was not recovered from the battlefield where he died. It was a tragedy that the family lived with for generations. In the years that followed his death, the family was in contact with the Army and pursued various paths to determine what had happened to their son and uncle on that fateful day. Finally, in May 2009, while doing some minor excavation work, the skeletal remains of an American soldier, with his dog tags still around his neck, was unearthed in the center of the town. It was John Simonetti.

It’s stories like these that will be included in my show, “New York City and WWII: Connecting Time and Place,” on October 26, 27 and 28, 2020 at The Cell Theatre, which is part of the series, “Classically Exposed: Musical Crossroads.”

For more information on the series and to purchase a subscription for all eight events at 25% discount CLICK HERE.

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