D-Day Anniversary: World War II veteran dies on way to D-Day commemoration in France

A 102-year-old Navy veteran on his way to take part in the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of D-Day died en route to the ceremony.

WHEC reported Robert Persichitti was sailing to France as part of a group sponsored by the National World War II Museum. He had flown to Germany from New York before boarding a ship sailing in the North Sea to Normandy when suffered a medical emergency. He had to be airlifted from the ship to a hospital in Germany.

Persichitti had heart issues, but his cardiologist told him to go to the ceremony, WROC reported.

Traveling companion Al DeCarlo said Persichitti did not die alone and that he passed peacefully, according to WHAM.

Persichitti didn’t participate in the D-Day invasion. Instead, he was on board the USS Eldorado as a radioman second class in the Pacific near Iwo Jima. Still, he got to witness history.

“I was the radio operator aboard the ship, and we were offshore a little ways and when they raised that flag, I was on deck that day, and watched them raise that flag twice,” he told WXXI last month.

The flag was raised on Mount Suribachi on the Japanese Island on Feb. 23, 1945.

DeCarlo said his friend reminisced about his time in the military with another veteran who held the same job during the war before he had the medical emergency.

“He met another radio man, I think he was from the Army, and they were chatting about things from 80 years ago. It was amazing to watch,” DeCarlo told WHAM.

Honor Flight Rochester called Persichitti “a great friend to many.”

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