102 Year Old WWII Hero Dies En Route to D-Day Commemoration: A Life of Valor and Dedication Remembered

Robert Persichitti, a 102-year-old World War II veteran, passed away while on his way to France to participate in the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Persichitti was traveling with a group from the National World War II Museum, ready to honor the historic day when Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy. Sadly, he fell ill aboard a ship and was airlifted to a hospital in Germany, where he passed away peacefully.

A Life of Service

Born and raised in Fairport, NY, Persichitti served as a radioman second class on the USS Eldorado during World War II. He was part of several critical battles, including Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Guam. His service during these significant events marked him as a true American hero. He was one of the few remaining veterans who had witnessed the iconic raising of the American flag on Mount Suribachi, an image that has become synonymous with the bravery and sacrifice of our troops.

Witness to History

On February 19, 1945, Persichitti was on the deck of the USS Eldorado when he saw the American flag being raised on Iwo Jima. This moment, captured in a famous photograph by Joe Rosenthal, symbolized hope and perseverance. In a 2019 interview, Persichitti recalled, “I was on the deck. When I got on the island today, I just broke down.” His firsthand experiences of the horrors and heroism of war deeply moved those who heard his stories.

Dedicated to Education

After the war, Persichitti became a carpentry teacher in Rochester, NY. Even in retirement, he dedicated himself to educating younger generations about the realities of war. He regularly visited schools, sharing his experiences and emphasizing the importance of remembering the sacrifices made by service members. In April, he celebrated his 102nd birthday with students at Calkins Road Middle School, continuing his mission of education and remembrance.

A Peaceful Passing

Al DeCarlo, a close friend who was traveling with Persichitti, shared that he was not alone in his final moments. A doctor played Frank Sinatra, Persichitti’s favorite singer, on her phone, providing comfort as he passed away peacefully. DeCarlo expressed, “The doctor was with him. He was not alone, he was at peace and he was comfortable.”

Honoring His Legacy

Persichitti was inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame in 2020, a testament to his remarkable life and service. His friend, Pastor William Leone, described him as having a “zest for living” and a commitment to sharing his experiences with the community. “He would go visit children in the grammar schools in the area, talk with them about his experiences growing up, his experiences during the Second World War,” Leone said.

Final Thoughts

Robert Persichitti’s life is a testament to courage, dedication, and the enduring spirit of the Greatest Generation. His passing is a solemn reminder of the sacrifices made by countless service members who fought for our freedom. As we remember Persichitti, we celebrate his life and express our deep gratitude for his service to our country.

Let us all take a moment to reflect on the incredible contributions of our veterans. Their bravery and sacrifice have shaped the world we live in today. Please share your thoughts and condolences in the comment section below.

Thank you, Robert Persichitti, for your service and dedication. Your legacy will continue to inspire future generations.

Share Your Thoughts

We encourage you to leave your comments below and pay tribute to this remarkable hero. How has the story of Robert Persichitti touched you? Let us honor his memory together.

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12 Comments

  1. Avatar photoThomas Condito Reply

    Thank you thank you for your patriotism and love of this country! Your sacrifice and dedication will always be remembered! True heroes are born and God Bless you in your journey to heaven I’m sure there will be a gang of brothers and sisters to welcome you into his loving arms! ????????❤️

  2. Avatar photoTom Myers Reply

    It makes me sad that so many soldiers sacrificed so much to preserve or way of life, and the countries political system is being destroyed by greed and stupidity. What is worse is Haiti violence and the UN not stepping in! why are they here?

  3. Avatar photoMichael Valgos Reply

    God bless you sir and thank you for your service If we didn’t have people like this gentleman We would not be like we are We need to appreciate what these men and women and the sacrifices they made should go on forever I am a disabled Marine veteran so I am bit partial to the war that was fought in the Pacific Theater This was I will say their day and then ours as a country You don’t see the high cost that the landing cost Thank God the Germans said not in bad weather and at Pod of Calais So many things happened that allowed even though the casualties to break the back and the move inland So rest in peace Sailor thank you for your service I know that the Marines and soldiers would look out to sea and there would be a mass of ships The battle of Okinawa was the largest landing in WW2 There were 1500 ships The Amy to the south and the Marines from the north The ships were hit by Kamikaze’s because the commanders kept them there for support These were great men

  4. Avatar photoKevin M. Reply

    Thank you Robert and God Bless you for your sacrifice. It’s so sad that you didn’t make it to Normandy for your final visit where you and thousands others fought for our freedom. May you Rest In Peace.

  5. Avatar photoKathy C. Reply

    God bless you and your family, sir. Thank you for fighting to preserve our country and its freedom. So sorry for your passing en route to the D-Day memorial presentation.

  6. Avatar photomadmemere Reply

    Mr. Persichitti -Thank you, sir, for your service and sacrifice; our prayers go with you, may you rest in eternal peace.

  7. Avatar photoMeri Riccardi Reply

    We must keep our freedom, constitution and nation so to honor the memory of him and all the rest of the heroes.

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