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Family of WWII veteran Simon Zulia presented with Bronze Star

BUFFALO - Congressman Brian Higgins presented the family of United States Army veteran Simon Zulia with a Bronze Star and additional military recognitions for his exemplary service in two of World War II’s most prominent campaigns.  Also, in a surprise to the family, Simon’s son, Steve Zulia was presented with a medal he never received for sustaining life threatening injuries while on duty as a Niagara County Sheriff’s Deputy. 

“Simon Zulia demonstrated great courage and commitment as a member of the United States Army and it is our honor to pay tribute and express gratitude for the contributions he made to this great nation,” said Congressman Brian Higgins, a member of the House Committees on Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security.  “Simon’s love for his country was matched only by his love for his family and the medals they are receiving today will stand as a lasting legacy of this patriarch’s noble character.”

Born December 4, 1925 in Lockport, NY, Simon Zulia, “Slim” to those who knew him best, attended Lockport High School before entering into the United States Military service on July 28, 1944 amidst the nation’s involvement in World War II.  Simon completed basic training at Ft. McClellan in Alabama and then went to Ft. Meade in Maryland before being sent overseas. 

Assigned to an Infantry Unit, Zulia participated in both the Rhineland and Ardennes campaigns, the latter of which became notable as the site of two major battles that helped to define the outcome of the war – the Battle of France and the Battle of the Bulge.  Due to its concealed, hilly terrain, Allied generals felt the Ardennes region could not be navigated by armored vehicles and therefore did not need to be heavily fortified. However, Nazi Germany tested the maneuverability of the region, twice using it as an invasion route into Northern France and Southern Belgium.  Zulia once recalled a time he was in a bunker in Germany with other soldiers that were wounded and close to death.  German soldiers saw them and Simon pretended he was dead just to stay alive.

Zulia served in a combat infantry unit as a rifleman until he was wounded in action but that did not stop his commitment to his country. He then became a truck driver and drove all types of vehicles that carried troops and supplies over various terrains. Zulia was honorably discharged on April 24th, 1946 from Fort Dix, New Jersey.

Simon’s two brothers, John and Sam, also served in World War II.  John served in the Air Corps and was stationed in the South Pacific.  Sam, Simon’s twin, proudly served in the Navy and served four tours overseas. 

Simon Zulia was married to his wife, Evelyn, for 44 years before he passed away in 1995.  In the early years of their marriage he ran the Lake Breeze Inn in Olcott and Slim’s Dinette in Lockport before working at Harrison Radiator for over 20 years.  The couple had four children, Marina Zulia Fery of Brockport, NY; Regina Zulia Sullivan of Lockport, NY; Steve Zulia of North Tonawanda, NY; and Peter Zulia from Cincinnati, Ohio.  

For his commendable conduct and courage throughout his military service, Congressman Brian Higgins presented Simon Zulia’s widow and all four children with: the Bronze Star, European-African- Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 bronze service stars, World War II Victory Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge 1st Award, and Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII.