Saluting Our War Heroes - The Buffalo News
print logo

If James May knew who owned the still-shining sword he keeps in a closet, he'd give it back. Days before the Japanese surrender in 1945, May, currently 92 years old, and others from the Army's 11th Airborne Division were ordered to knock on doors near the city of Yokohama and take swords from their owners to be dumped at sea. He figured he'd save one. But now he seem…

Charles J. Palmeri was deeply angered by what he saw at Dachau – newly liberated prisoners who looked no more than skeletons. And then there were the dead prisoners. Corpses were stacked in piles. How could people be so vicious? When the war in Europe ended in May 1945, Palmeri visited the infamous World War II concentration camp to see firsthand the horror. "It wa…

Morton Korn has always been a practical and industrious man. At 94, he still runs a sportswear  and promotion company. As a senior at Ohio State University back in the early 1940s, Korn put his college education on hold and enlisted in the Navy's officer training program. He had to wait awhile before entering basic training, so he put the idle time to good use b…

Eight years into his career with the Navy, Robert B. Bailey was on his way to help fight a war that did not surprise him in the volatile Middle East. "We didn't have terrorism like we know it today, but the world had dictators, and the United Nations and the rest of the world were sick of seeing these dictators killing people," Bailey said of one of them – Saddam Hus…

Paul R. Hulub remembers the plans he made with two buddies after they received their draft notices for service in World War II. "I'd heard so many good things about the Marines that I convinced my two friends that we would all join the Marines," the 91-year-old Hulub said in recalling how the trio took the train from North Andover, Mass., to the Boston Navy Yard. "…

Growing up in Kenmore, a young James E. Pickard recalls how impressed he was by the stories he heard from neighbors who had served as Marines in some of the toughest battles of World War II. "One of the guys told me how he was wounded at Iwo Jima and ended up in the hospital for 2½ years," Pickard said. For the teenaged Pickard, such heroism was inspirational and he…

On the advice of his older brother, Bill Sorokes enlisted in the Navy before Uncle Sam could draft him into the Army for service in World War II. "My older brother John told me it was a better life in the Navy," the 90-year-old Sorokes said of those long-ago words of wisdom. But the Navy was no cake walk. Sorokes recalled his cousin Sonny Kocak, who had also offered …

Eighteen months of planning and raising money culminates Saturday, June 10 with the dedication of a Blue Star Memorial marker just off Route 62 in Eden. The Eden Garden Study Club is organizing the ceremony at 11 a.m. on the grounds of American Legion Newell Faulkner Post 880 near Eden Elementary School. The marker is next to the helicopter. School children will sing…

An overdue tribute will be paid to C. Wade McClusky Jr., the Buffalo native credited with playing an instrumental role in helping win World War II's pivotal Battle of Midway. Philip M. McClusky, the deceased war hero's only surviving child, will attend a series of events at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park and at his father's alma mater, South Park Hi…

Veterans with a service-connected disability that results in the inability to have biological children can receive fertility counseling and treatment at Veterans Affairs facilities under a change in regulations announced this month. Spouses of eligible veterans also are covered under the change, which includes in vitro fertilization. For more information on the guide…

Frank Cortese is one of the few people who fought on both sides during World War II. He started as a sailor with the Italian navy, fighting against the Allies. After Italy surrendered, he continued as an Italian sailor fighting for the Allies. As most familiar with history remember, Italy entered the war on the side of Germany and Japan, before surrendering in Octob…

Bernard W. Amos desperately wanted to go with his classmates and fight in World War II. A year younger than the other Medina High School seniors because he had skipped a grade in grammar school, he was crushed when his father refused to sign the early enlistment papers. "I was 17 and gung-ho to enlist, but my father said, 'You wait until you're drafted.' He knew from…

Dennis J. Kulczyk had hoped to become an electrician after graduating from Boys Vocational High School back in the early 1960s, but jobs were few in his trade. So he instead worked at N.L. Kaplan, one of Buffalo's biggest furriers. His duties included picking up fur coats for summer storage and placing them in a sprawling refrigerated vault inside a downtown Perry Stree…

Jasper E. Rivera says his early days in Colorado on the family's ranch taught him how to be self-sufficient, a quality that has served him well over his long life. "We had our own equipment and we raised all of our own food and we shared with our neighbors and other people in our church during the Great Depression," he said. Rivera's family history also inspired him …

When thousands of other young people were making their way to Woodstock, the music festival that would come to represent the peace and free love themes of the 1960s, 19-year-old Jerry Burger was on his way to Army basic training. The Buffalo teenager was drafted and had no choice – unless, of course, he fled to Canada. "That would have been a pretty extreme choice that…