Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., seen in Ste. Mere-Eglise on
July 12, hours before he died of a coronary thrombosis. Arthritis caused
him to walk with a stick. The 4th Infantry Division commander described
him as “the most gallant soldier and finest gentleman I have ever
Imagine it is D-Day, June 6, 1944, and you are a young private.
You are hitting Utah Beach in the very first wave, into the teeth of
the German army, against a rainfall of enemy gunfire, artillery shrapnel
and gore. You are filled with fear.
And there on the beach in front of you, stands an old man. An
American brigadier general—bull frog-voiced, pop-eyed, 5-foot-8 inches
tall, and directing traffic with his cane. Calm as a man can be in
combat, he is Ted Roosevelt Jr., the son of the famous president and the
only general on the beach.
At age 56, he had volunteered to be on the landing boats in order to
give the young troops reassurance and to arm them with his same
fortitude and courage.