Last month, Boy Scout Troop 270 presented a flag flown in Normandy to a local resident whose brother died while serving in the U.S. Army during the Battle of Normandy in 1944.
Private Anton “Tony” Czapiga entered service from Rockfall and served in the 358th Infantry, 90th Division. He landed at Utah Beach and was killed in action during an assault on Le Calais on June 17, 1944, according to information gathered by the Boy Scout troop.
Czapiga’s sister, Stacia Bogdan, 92, of Middletown, was invited to learn about the scouts’ recent trip to France during their meeting on May 28.
During the presentation, the scouts surprised Bogdan with a flag they had personally flown while in Normandy, as well as a photo of her brother, sand from the beaches, and some other memorabilia.
“It was very nice. It was meaningful for the whole family that was there,” said Joseph Smith, a family member who attended the presentation. “Even scout families, they were all kind of moved by it.”
Evan Poggio, one of the nine Troop 270 scouts to go to France, said he was proud of his troop for being able to tell Bogdan more information about her brother and how he died, some things she never knew.
“She was very emotional, she started crying, she said she was very happy and thankful for us … to get the flag, she was very happy for that because she wanted a piece of her brother, because she didn't get anything back,” Poggio said.
Boy Scout Troop 270 joined more than 3,000 other Boy Scouts in Normandy in April to participate in their annual Normandy Camporee.
The event is hosted by the Transatlantic Council every three years, but this year the event landed specifically on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1944, when Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, leading to the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control.
While visiting Omaha Beach, the scouts hoisted several American flags to fly above the battle site, which came home with them to share with others like Bogdan.
During their long weekend trip in Normandy, Troop 270 scouts and their families also visited several museums, as well as the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial and looked for the markers of a few American soldiers to place flowers at those sites. Due to reseeding at the cemetery, they only reached Czapiga’s grave.
Boy Scout Noah Ram was selected to sing America the Beautiful in front of a few thousand people at the Normandy Camporee with another American Boy Scout who lives in France.
Poggio said the trip was a great leaning experience for the scouts and parents alike.
“Learning how people fought and how it impacted our country, really stood out to me,” Poggio said. “It definitely boosted my (appreciation) of what people did for our country.”
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