The Battle of Normandy is known as the “largest seaborne invasion in history.”
Anthony J. Coccia, born in Phoenixville on July 26, 1917, landed in Normandy while serving with the 2nd Infantry Division, U.S. Army, on the second day of the battle and continued fighting the next 39 days. He was awarded the Bronze Star. Coccia passed away on May 10, 2012, in Hodgenville, K.Y.
Anthony was the son of Emilio Coccia (born in Rotella, Italy) and Maria Cutillo Coccia (born in Casolla, Italy). The family moved to Columbus, Ohio, in 1923. His mother, Maria, died in 1940 and was buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Phoenixville.
He volunteered to join the U.S. Army. He was a graduate of U.S. Naval Air Station Apprenticeship Program in San Diego, CA. He worked at Air Force Missile Test Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral. He worked at Air Force Missile Test Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral. He was a licensed aircraft mechanic and retired from Eastern Airlines in 1980.
He was remembered during a Mass of Christian Burial on Sept. 18, 2012, at Holy Family Church, Columbus, Ohio. Fr. Kevin F. Lutz, Fr. Peter Gideon and Fr. Dennis Stevenson presided over the funeral. The funeral was followed by military honors by American Legion Post #532 and tribute by his half sister, Maria Regina Coccia, at Franklin County Veterans Memorial, Columbus, Ohio. Burial was in Elm Vale Cemetery, Waterford, Maine, on May 18, 2012. Funeral arrangements were by Schoedinger Hilltop Chapel.
Maria focused her tribute on how her half brother was a survivor...a survivor of war, flu and diptheria in the 1900s, the Great Depression and losing his mother in 1940. When she was having a bad day, he would say, “Keep smiling, sis. They don’t make them any better than you.” Maria ended her tribute with “For brother, Tony, wherever you are, they don’t make them any better than you.”
She also said six years ago, she was honored when Anthony had sent her his war medals and Bronze Star.