World War II veteran Anthony V. Gizzi of Haverstraw NY, born November 11, 1923, was invited by the Friends of the National World War II Memorial to be honored at the National WWII Memorial in Washington DC during the 2013 Veterans Day ceremonies.
Anthony was given the honor to be the Wreath Presenter for the United States Navy, and to be honored by the Honorable Patrick R. Donahoe, United States Postal Service (USPS) postmaster general and CEO. Appropriately enough, Gizzi also turned 90-years-old on Veterans Day, adding to this extraordinary day of festivities.
During the ceremonies, Gizzi was asked to stand and be recognized in honor of his 25 years of services with the USPS, during a speech given by the Postmaster General, which was leading up the to the unveiling of the newly released Army and Navy Medal of Honor stamps. During the Wreath Presenter ceremony Anthony was escorted by his grandson James Gizzi to the National WWII Memorial Freedom Wall to present the wreath with a present day Naval soldier.
The Freedom Wall has 4,048 gold stars, each representing 100 Americans who died in the war. Following the wreath ceremony, there was a photo session for the veterans with dignitaries, families, and friends.
The Governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley had already given a speech earlier to honor all veterans past and present and he started a conversation with Gizzi who was dressed in an authentic WWII dress uniform, medals and pins obtained from the Central Military Surplus in Pearl River NY. The governor mentioned to Anthony Gizzi that his own father was a fighter pilot in WWII. The governor then recognized Anthony’s WWII contributions and date of birth by bestowing on him the State of Maryland Governor’s coin.
Following the ceremonies, Gizzi along with other veterans participated in a high school student/WW II veteran interview project called “Capturing the Voices of WW II.” A film crew interviewed Anthony for the documentary, targeted for release to U.S. high schools nation-wide in the spring of 2014.
Gizzi was cheered, hugged, photographed, and thanked by hundreds of memorial visitors throughout the day and for him it will be a day in his life he will never forget. He was accompanied on the adventure by his wife of 59 years Marie Gizzi, his son Mark and his wife Carolyn, his granddaughter Caroline and her boyfriend Elliot Scharf, his grandson James, and brother-in-Law James Paradise, who is a veteran of the Vietnam War, and other members of his family.
Gizzi served in the Air Force during the war.