The medal is a reminder that Solomon fought on French soil and had a hand in the liberation of France that began on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
As a private in the 294th Joint Assault Signal Company, Solomon was part of an outfit that, by the end of D-Day, had set up the first communications switchboard. Within hours, they would string phone lines in and around Colleville-sur-Mer, linking the coastal towns the Allies fought so hard to secure.
“I climbed a lot of trees in those days,” says Solomon, who is still fit and sharp.
Nearly all of the boys he served with are gone now. He says only Bob Rohde, a dear friend who lives in Horseheads, New York, (outside Elmira) remains from his team.
His comrades are long gone, but the memories still crowd around him, spurred by a trove of photos the 21-year-old took in the days surrounding D-Day.
It certainly wasn’t part of his job — years later at a reunion a lieutenant scolded him for having taken them — but at several points in those historic days, Solomon reached into the front right pocket of his fatigues and pulled out a foldable Kodak camera and snapped photos of what he saw.
What remains is a photographic memory of an invasion that made history, a collection that sweeps away 72 years and transforms that 94-year-old in Suffern into that 21-year-old from Flatbush.
“I carried this camera from the get-go, right from the beginning,” he says. “I always enjoyed taking pictures to see what the results would be like. I took pictures from the time I got into the Army and carried it throughout D-Day and thereafter. Whenever the time was right and it didn’t interfere with what we were doing, I would stop and snap a picture or two here and there.”