American Legion honors 104-year-old World War II veteran
By LUTHER TURMELLE | New Haven (Conn.) Register | Published: September 9, 2014
WALLINGFORD, Conn. (MCT) — It has been a long way and a lot years from the D-Day invasion of Europe during World War II to present day at the Skyview Nursing Home, but 104-year-old Pasquale Borelli still remembers some of it like was yesterday.
Borelli served as a medical aidman that day, supporting the more than 150,000 troops who stormed the beaches of Normandy in France, the first step in an effort to liberate Europe from the control of Nazi Germany. But amid the carnage and chaos of day, he came across his younger brother Joseph, who had been wounded in action.
“I was so shocked, I didn’t know what to say,” Borelli said when asked about the experience of finding his brother among so many people.
Monday was a special day for Borelli, who was born in New Haven and lived in Hamden and Cheshire before moving into the nursing home about seven years ago. He was honored by Bob Murray, immediate past state commander of the American Legion in Connecticut, and the leadership of the organization’s Highwood Post 150 in Hamden where Borelli has been a member for 67 years.
“We believe he is the oldest living veteran of World War II in Connecticut,” Murray said. “I’m in awe of what people like Pat did in the World War II generation. Not only did they free the world from tyranny, but they came back and with the help of the GI Bill, they reshaped American society.”
Borelli called the ceremony “a complete surprise.” It included the singing of patriotic songs and the reading of proclamations from Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson and Daniel Dellinger, national commander of the American Legion,
Those who know Borelli marvel at his zest for life.
“When they do exercises, he’s always at the front of the room, singing and leading the rest of the class,” said Lorreta Sevas of Wallingford, whose mother, Rita, lives in the nursing home. “I hope I live that long and still have that much energy.”
Borelli’s stepdaughter, Audrey Buttery, called him “a really wonderful man.”
“I’m very proud of him,” she said.
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