MANCHESTER, OCEAN CO., N.J.,
Jul 6, 2012
More than six decades after being wounded in France during a World War II, Army Private First Class Daniel Passarella finally received a Military Order of the Purple Heart medal.
Passarella, 89, of Brick was presented the medal Thursday afternoon during a ceremony at the office of Rep. Christopher Smith, R-NJ. Approximately 30 of Passarella’s family members attended the event. [To watch an Asbury Park Press video of the presentation, click here.]
“I never expected it to be this type of celebration,’’ Passarella said after receiving the medal. “It’s an honor to receive this award. I’m still thankful to be alive because a lot of the fellows (Passarella served with in the Army) are not here.”
Passarella said he entered France by ship in June 1944. Two days after Allied forces began landing on D-Day, he was injured June 8 when shrapnel struck his right shoulder and right knee during a battle.
“You have served your country faithfully and selflessly during one of the bloodiest wars in our nation’s history, and fought in one of the pivotal battles,’’ Smith said Thursday as he presented Passarella with the medal. “I’m sorry you did not get this long before today, but I want you to know that a grateful nation honors you and all those who were hurt in the combat.’’
In October, Smith wrote to Major Gen. Frederick Hodges, the chief legislative liaison for the Army, seeking the medal for on behalf of Passarella.
“(Passarella) reached out to us, after having little success,’’ Smith said. “After getting all of the information (from Passarella and his family) we were able to get the medal for him.”
Dan J. Passarella, Daniel Passarella’s son, said he first tried to obtain the Purple Heart approximately 20 years ago.
“He had tried to do and was unable to get the award, because of documentation issues,’’ said Passarella, 59, of Point Pleasant Beach. “He gave it up because he felt bad that some of people in his unit did not make it home. We are all happy that he has finally received this honor.’’