102-year-old World War II veteran passes away on his way to D-Day ceremonies in Europe

102-year-old veteran Robert “Al” Persichitti, who had served in the Navy during World War II, passed away while traveling to France for the D-Day anniversary. Despite speaking eagerly about attending the remembrance ceremony, he fell ill in Germany and died in a hospital.

Persichitti’s friend and priest, Rev. William Leone, shared that he had attended many WWII remembrance events in the past and was determined to be present for the D-Day ceremony as well. Although he did not make it to his final destination, he was surrounded by loved ones during his last moments and listened to his favorite singer, Frank Sinatra, before passing away peacefully.

The National WWII Museum recognized Persichitti as a beloved friend and honored his service in the Navy. Enlisting in 1942, he served as a radioman on the USS Eldorado and participated in significant battles in the Pacific, including Iwo Jima and Okinawa. He witnessed the iconic raising of the U.S. flag at Iwo Jima and returned there in 2019 to share his wartime experiences with others.

Before embarking on his trip to Europe, Persichitti shared his excitement about the journey with friends and family members alike. He spoke openly about how his cardiologist encouraged him to go and shared how passionate he was about sharing his war experiences with others through speaking engagements at schools and community events as well as writing an autobiography for his family in 2015. Even on his deathbed, he led the Pledge of Allegiance at a Memorial Day remembrance event in East Rochester, emphasizing the importance of remembering those who made sacrifices like himself for our country’s freedom.

In conclusion, Robert “Al” Persichitti was a remarkable individual who dedicated himself to serving our country during World War II despite facing numerous challenges throughout his life. His legacy will continue to inspire future generations of veterans who have served our nation bravely and honorably.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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