Middletown, Conn. bridge dedicated to Maj. Gen. Maurice Rose

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (Tribune News Service)  — The Route 9 bridge over Union Street has been named in honor of Maj. Gen. Maurice Rose, a Middletown native who died in battle during World War II.

The dedication was approved by the state as part of a budget implementer bill last summer, and officials held a ceremony Tuesday morning at city hall.

Rose was born at 508 Main St. in Middletown in 1899, and was killed by a German sniper in Paderborn, Germany, on March 29, 1945. He is also the namesake of the U.S. Army Reserve center in the Westfield section of town and Major General Maurice Rose Post 51, the local chapter of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States.

State Rep. Matt Lesser said he worked with Post 51 Commander Morty Pear and former leader Roger "Sonny" Rubinow, who died in 2014, on naming a local landmark after Rose.

"Maj. Gen. Maurice Rose gave his life so we can all enjoy the freedom we have now," Pear said.

Lesser said the bridge over Union Street will be a prominent place to honor Rose as it welcomes thousands of visitors to Middletown's riverfront area. The riverfront area is poised to see increased use in coming years as plans for redevelopment along the Connecticut River advance.

Rose received the Purple Heart for his service in France during World War I, and after being discharged in 1918 he re-enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1920. Over the next 25 years he became known as one of the country's most effective military leaders.

Past American Legion Post 75 Commander Philip Cacciola said during the ceremony Tuesday morning that Rose led American soldiers to crucial victories in the Battle of Carentan in France, the Battle of the Bulge and Normandy. Rose's record of a 100-mile one-day drive through Germany still stands today as the longest by an American unit in a day.

Cacciola said Rose was known as an inspiring leader, and was always on the front lines with his troops.

Rose was the commander of the legendary Third Armored Division, and was the highest-ranking Jewish officer to die in World War II.

"He was a leader, and he was right up front," said State Rep. Joe Serra. "Unfortunately being upfront cost him his life."

Rose moved with his family to Denver in 1905, and he lived there most of his civilian life. Serra said then-Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower laid the cornerstone for a hospital there dedicated in honor of Rose.

Eisenhower also sent a personal letter to Rose's widow, Virginia Rose, in which he wrote:

"He was not only one of our bravest and best, but was a leader who inspired his men to speedy accomplishment of tasks that to a lesser man would have appeared almost impossible. He was out in front of his division, leading it in one of its many famous actions, when he met his death."

The letter is included in a book on Rose by Steven L. Ossad and Don R. Marsh. Rose is buried in the American military cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands.

©2016 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)
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