French honor 34 vets
WEST POINT, N.Y. — Almost 70 years after Joseph Federico was wounded and captured in the hedgerows of France, he was personally thanked Friday by that country's government during a heartfelt ceremony at the Military Academy.
The 88-year-old Belvidere, N.J., resident was among 34 World War II veterans decorated as knights of France's Legion of Honor in a ceremony leading up to the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings that began June 6, 1944. Many honorees had white hair and stooped postures and rose slowly to have the medals pinned to their chests. But, to a man, they said the honor was welcome seven decades after their service.
“I'm just lucky that I'm here to get this, you know, because it was awfully tough for all of us,” said Federico, who spent two months recovering from a shrapnel wound in his leg as a prisoner of war. “I lost good friends from my company, and it was terrible.”
Federico wore his new decoration on his blazer, just below his Purple Heart.
Consul General of France Bertrand Lortholary said it was important to show their gratitude at West Point in front of the cadets who will make up the next generation of American officers.
“Seventy years have passed ... and yet the memory of the sacrifice of American soldiers remains more vivid than ever in the villages of France — in Normandy, in Provence, in the Ardennes, whose cemeteries bear witness to war's cost in life,” Lortholary said. “I want to tell you that your example gives us inspiration.”
Francis Cocca, 90, said: “It's beyond words almost. ... I came home. I had one medal. I put it in a box and forgot it. Now look at this!”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Next hurdle for health care likely tax season
- Uzi victim’s family feels sorry for girl, 9, who squeezed trigger
- Half-ton alligator sets world record
- Pilot in F-15 crash was decorated veteran
- Astronomers get look at birth of huge galaxy
- Rosa Parks items sell for $4.5M
- Odds of ‘megadrought’ in Southwest rises to 50%, study says
- Legendary ‘Walking Dead’ unit deactivated by Marines
- Judge strikes down Texas abortion law
- McDonnell case heads for jurors
- Series of shootings kills 3 in California