When Pvt. Joseph L. Vetri arrived in Scotland aboard the Queen Elizabeth on a leaden morning in his 19th year, the enormity of what awaited just days hence quickly dawned on him.
The calendar read: “June 6, 1944”.
“It was about 7:30 in the morning, and the captain announces: ‘It is now D-Day, it is now D-Day; the invasion of France is on,’ ” Vetri told News 12 Long Island in a May 2016 interview. “And I said, ‘Oh my God, that’s why I’m here.’ ”
Vetri, 92, who landed at Normandy about 10 days after that World War II invasion began, participated in the liberation of Paris, and later served as an anti-aircraft gunner defending the vital port at Antwerp during the Battle of the Bulge, died July 6 at his West Babylon home.
Vetri, who was known for breaking into song with favored Frank Sinatra tunes, had battled heart problems and had suffered a stroke earlier this year, said his son Bruce Vetri of Bayport.
“I’m no hero,” Joseph Vetri told News 12 a year ago. “I can tell you this, I was scared every minute of the day. You realize someone is trying to kill you — they’re not messing around.”
Hero or not, Vetri persevered through the…
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