A TRIBUTE: Three veterans, one of whom is deceased and another who was too ill to attend, were honored today during POW-MIA Recognition ceremonies outside the Bergen County courthouse.
Ceremonies included a wreath laying and salutes from various veterans. Flown along with the colors was the familiar black-and-white POW-MIA flag.
Robert Levine ( top photos below, middle ) smiled at those honoring him.
Levine was 18 when he drafted in 1943, then served in the Army’s 90th Infantry Division. He was wounded and captured by the Germans on July 10, 1944 in the Battle of Normandy.
Unable to attend was Norman Fellman, who was 19 when he drafted in the same year as Levine. He served with “B” Company, 275th Infantry Regiment of the Army’s 70th Division — known as the “Trailblazers” — and was captured by the Germans on January 4, 1945 during the Battle of the Bulge.
Representing the late John Fusaro was his son, John (below, in the red, white and blue cap and tie).
His father was only 17 when he enlisted in the Army in 1942. Wounded in action in France, he was sent to England for treatment. He returned to the battlefield after recovering and, like Fellman, was captured in the Battle of the Bulge.
Fusaro was held in a POW Camp in Nassau, Prussia until he was liberated by Allied Forces in the spring of 1945.
Today’s commemoration included presentations of the colors by Chapter 800 Color Guard of the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Patriot Guard Riders, Mid-Atlantic Region, headed by Jack “Pappy” Shinn.
“Here to support the veterans,” Shinn said.
And they did — even escorting Levine to Hackensack for the event.
Highlights also included the appearances of last year’s honorees — and lifelong friends — Alphonse “Funzi” Iannuzzi of Carlstadt and Vito Trause of Washington Township.
Others who attended and/or spoke included Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan ( fifth photo below ), who presented the service medals while noting that more than 90,000 Americans are listed as still missing in action.
Also there: Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino ( top photos below, middle ), Undersheriff Harry Shortway (talking with the Guard Riders, below), county Clerk John Hogan and Freeholders John Felice and Maura DeNicola, who was particularly touched by the respectful ceremony ( third photo below ).
National POW-MIA Recognition Day is observed each year on the third Friday of September.
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