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WWII Veteran Dies at 102 En Route to D-Day Commemoration in France

Written By Denis Cummings
Last updated: June 6, 2024

A 102-year-old World War II veteran, Robert Persichitti, passed away while traveling to France to attend the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Persichitti, who witnessed the iconic flag-raising at Iwo Jima, was airlifted to a hospital in Germany after falling ill on a ship in the North Sea but sadly did not survive.

Key Takeaways

  • Robert Persichitti, a 102-year-old WWII veteran, died en route to a D-Day commemoration event in France.
  • He witnessed the iconic flag-raising at Iwo Jima in 1945.
  • Persichitti was traveling with the National World War II Museum group.
  • He was airlifted to a hospital in Germany after a medical emergency but did not survive.
  • His favorite Frank Sinatra song was played during his final moments.
WWII Veteran Dies at 102 En Route to D-Day Commemoration in France

A Life of Service and Sacrifice

Robert Persichitti served as a radioman aboard the USS Eldorado during World War II. He participated in key battles, including Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Guam. Persichitti was among the American troops who witnessed the raising of the U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi, an event immortalized in one of the most famous photographs of the war.

In 2019, Persichitti returned to Mount Suribachi as part of a veterans program. He described the emotional experience of revisiting the site where he had witnessed so much sacrifice and bravery.

Final Journey to Normandy

Persichitti was traveling to Normandy with the National World War II Museum group to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Despite a history of heart problems, he was excited about the trip and had received his cardiologist’s approval to travel.

While on a ship in the North Sea, Persichitti suffered a medical emergency and was airlifted to a hospital in Germany. His friend and travel companion, Al DeCarlo, confirmed that Persichitti was not alone in his final moments. A doctor played his favorite Frank Sinatra song, and he passed away peacefully.

Legacy and Remembrance

After the war, Persichitti became a carpentry teacher in Rochester, New York. He was known for visiting local schools to share his wartime experiences with students. In 2020, he was inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame.

Persichitti’s life was marked by his dedication to service and his efforts to educate future generations about the sacrifices made during World War II. His passing is a poignant reminder of the dwindling number of World War II veterans and the importance of honoring their legacy.

A Community Mourns

The news of Persichitti’s passing has deeply affected his community in Fairport, New York. Local pastor William Leone, who had been friends with Persichitti for 46 years, expressed his sorrow and admiration for the veteran’s zest for life. Persichitti’s friend, Al DeCarlo, emphasized that he lived life to the fullest and left a lasting impact on those who knew him.

As the world commemorates the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Persichitti’s story serves as a powerful reminder of the bravery and sacrifices of the Greatest Generation. His legacy will continue to inspire and educate future generations.

Charles Eames

Denis Cummings is a history enthusiast and author, with a passion for uncovering the stories of the past. Through his writing, he seeks to share his love of history with others and provide a unique perspective on the events that have shaped our world.

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