‘Not forgotten’ - 30 Long Island veterans receive commemorative medals for service in Vietnam
The Long Island Air Force Association recognized 30 Vietnam veterans on Saturday at the Cradle of Aviation Museum for their service.
One by one, the 30 Vietnam veterans from Long Island received the Vietnam 50th Anniversary Commemorative Medal.
"It's something that the veterans never had when they came home from Vietnam. It's our welcome home," said the Association's Fred Di Fabio.
More than 50 years have passed since the veterans fought in the jungles of Vietnam. The medals they received send a message that the passage of time has not diminished their bravery and selfless sacrifice.
For Vincent DiSalvo, of Long Beach, it was a long overdue honor he's grateful to receive.
"I think it's fantastic. You know, we're up there in age, all of us, it's over 50 years now. I think it's wonderful. Not forgotten," DiSalvo said.
Pvt. 1st Class Charles DiFranzo, of East Islip, was humble about the recognition.
"I feel good about it, but it's just for the time I put in. Nothing heroic about it," DiFranzo said.
DiFranzo's proud wife, Dianna, disagreed.
"To go and stand up for us and protect us, it's a big deal. All of the boys, thank God for those who came back. Feel bad for those who didn't," she said.
Medal recipient Robert Grisnik, of Southampton, hopes this show of appreciation will be a teachable moment for today's generation.
"To let the younger community know what has happened in the past, the history, because not all schools are teaching the history of what has happened in the past," Grisnik said.
The Long Island Air Force Association has awarded medals to 1,100 Vietnam veterans in the past five years.