The post was renamed after local resident Rocco Moretto, one of only two soldiers from his original company that survived WWII. Moretto was in the 1st Infantry Division, which received nicknames like the “Big Red One” and “The Bloody First” and had a reputation for being so tough that commanders routinely sent them to the front line.
The company, which originally included 219 men, served the entirety of World War II, from Normandy to the Battle of the Bulge to Czechoslovakia, where they were stationed when the war ended.
“Rarely, rarely do we get to be in the presence of a hero like Rocco Moretto, who actually is responsible for us being able to be here today” said Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr.
Pat Gualtieri, executive director of the United War Veterans Council, said his group strapped a picture of the WWII veteran to their float in the president's inauguration parade. He then presented Moretto with a flag flown at the event.
“This is an honor I never dreamed of receiving,” said Moretto. “Believe me when I say that I am overwhelmed with it all, especially when it comes on the 69th anniversary of D-Day.”
He then stopped his speech to salute his fellow veterans of VFW Post 2348.
“I want you all to know that I have the upmost respect and enormous admiration for all of you young veterans,” he said.
The walls of Moretto's apartment are already lined with medals and awards from his time of service. Following last week's ceremony, Moretto was given a plaque and a framed patch of the 1st Infantry Division.
“I’m going to need more walls,” he joked.