A 96-year-old World War II vet is traveling across the country to pay tribute to a fellow soldier who sacrificed his life to save his.
Army Private Anthony Grasso was just 20-years-old during World War II. The young private found himself on the Western Front, participating in one of the deadliest battles of the war at Hürtgen Forest. Grasso almost joined the casualty list during the battle.
A German artillery shell struck in front of Grasso. But fellow soldier, Lt. Frank DuBose stepped in front of the blast. The 23-year-old sacrificed his own life so that Grasso might live. He died as a result of the blast while Grasso ended up thrown 30 feet backward. He experienced head and neck injuries but lived.
“He stood between me and the blast, taking the brunt of the shrapnel,” Grasso, 96, told Fox News. He never forgot DuBose’s sacrifice. And 76 years later, Grasso is making the journey from Massachusetts to DuBose’s final resting place in Camden, South Carolina. The veteran is honoring the soldier with a final salute.
World War II Vet Reflects on Sacrifice
Journalist Joseph M. Pereira is chronicling the WW2 veteran’s journey. Pereira discovered the grave while researching for his book “All Souls Day: The World War II Battle and the Search for a Lost U.S. Battalion.”
As a result, Grasso finally gets to pay his respects after all of these years. The veteran knew he had to make the long trip to see DuBose. Both Pereira and Grasso are making the trip down to South Carolina for the occasion. On Thursday (May 27), Grasso went to the airport with a procession of local police vehicles. A military guard accompanied him at the airport.
“At that point, he didn’t hesitate to say, ‘Let’s go down,'” Pereira told the outlet. “This weekend is the day when he will finally be able to say the words to Frank that he wanted to say 76 years ago, which was, ‘Thank you for saving my life.’”
According to Pereira, Grasso plans to confront his survivor’s guilt head-on. The journalist believes that the trip will prove cathartic for the WWII vet.
“His story is a 76-year-old story of two things. One is fighting PTSD. He had it in the worst way. And the other thing is survivor’s guilt. And those two things have shadowed him throughout his life,” Pereira said Thursday. “It is very cathartic for him. It is a lifetime of grief and sorrow just lifting off his shoulders. I could see it in the glint of his eyes this morning when he was surrounded by everyone.