WWII Veteran Dies While Traveling to France For D-Day 80th Anniversary

photo by: Richard Stewart/Honor Flight Rochester

Robert Persichitti, a 102-year-old World War II veteran, passed away last week while traveling to France for the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Robert Persichitti, one of the last surviving Americans who served in World War II, according to CNN, passed away in a hospital in Germany after facing a medical issue while on his way to Normandy to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Persichitti, a Rochester, New York resident, was traveling by ship with a group of veterans to honor the historic June 6, 1944, event. He experienced a medical emergency during the journey and was airlifted to a hospital in Germany, where he later died.

Richard Stewart / Honor Flight Rochester

Persichitti’s life was shaped by significant historical moments. He lived through the Great Depression and was a part of the Civilian Conservation Corps before enlisting in the Navy in 1942,  spending a year learning Morse code and radio operations in New York City.

During the war, Persichitti served as a radioman on the USS Eldorado and, in 1944, sailed to the Pacific where he participated in the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. He was in the harbor at Iwo Jima and witnessed the iconic raising of the U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi.

Sgt. Mark Gibson/US Marine Corps

After the war, Persichitti settled in Rochester and spent four decades as a teacher in the local school district, educating students in carpentry and technical skills. He also became involved with Honor Flight Rochester, an organization that takes veterans to visit memorials in Washington, D.C. Later, Persichitti shared his remarkable life story in a 2015 autobiography titled “Building an American Life.”

In 2020, he was honored for his service by being inducted into the New York State Senate’s Veterans Hall of Fame. 

Robert Persichitti will be remembered for his brave service and lifelong commitment to honoring those who have served.

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