Batavia family salutes WWII veteran on his birthday, which also happens to be Veterans Day
Even though there are plenty of ceremonial activities for veterans to attend on Veterans Day, it’s sometimes necessary to bring the ceremony to the veteran.
And that’s exactly what the family members of Eugene DeFedericis decided to do this year. They not only planned a special day to honor his military service, but also for a little public recognition on his birthday, which happens to fall on Nov. 11 as well.
His granddaughter-in-law, Stacey DeFedericis of Batavia, told The Batavian Wednesday of the surprise.
“This is a salute to Veterans Day and to Eugene’s 97th birthday,” she said. “This is something special for him and his two great-grandsons. My boys are non-stop listening to his stories; they fell in love with him the moment they met him.”
Eugene, of Attica, is the grandfather of Jason DeFedericis, Stacey’s husband. He served in the United States Army during World War II and was stationed in Germany, France and Austria. A corporal C 5, the grand patriarch likes to share war stories and also serves as a role model for great-grandsons Abel, 6, and 4-year-old Haiden, Mrs. DeFedericis said.
“He tries to instill being well-mannered and to present themselves to be the gentlemen they’re supposed to be,” she said. “He’s a strong guy, and very polite.”
The family has photos and articles of Eugene from his service days during 1944 to 1947. A framed collection of ribboned medals and one for sharp shooter is behind glass to protect the tokens of his service.
He has a flag up at his home and often wears a veterans WWII baseball cap, she said. Perhaps a given, he is “very, very patriotic,” she said, and used to travel around the county to various veterans ceremonies. He cannot walk as well as he used to, which prompted the family party at his home on Thursday.
“It’s just a ceremony to say thanks, and for his birthday,” she said. “I’m just trying to do something special for him; it’s to show him he’s loved. I want him to know he’s still loved by us.”
Photo: Veteran Eugene DeFedericis is flanked by great-grandsons Abel and Haiden, with grandson Jason and son Bob behind him. Photo submitted by Stacey DeFedericis.