Monday marks the Anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1944, the day that the United States invaded Normandy, France to eventually march across Europe and defeat Hitler. Croton resident Vincent Matero, a Navy vereran of World War II, remembers his family’s experience during the war.
While 95-year-old Matero doesn’t remember exactly where he was stationed at the time, “it was a long time ago,” he believes it was in the Pacific. “I knew it was coming,” said Matero about whether or not he was surprised by the invasion. “It had to come sooner or later.”
Matero enlisted in the Navy in 1942 after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He enlisted in the Navy because, according to his estimation, he would be drafted soon anyway. Matero had four brothers, all now deceased, who also served in the military and Navy. His brothers, Charles, John, Joseph and Michael, all were veterans, although it is hard for Matero to recall where they served and during what time.
Customarily, the brothers didn’t discuss their experiences much upon their return from abroad. “I guess they wanted to forget the experience,” said Matero, “especially the guys that were really in combat.”
Matero was the Grand Marshall of the Summerfest parade in Croton on Sunday. He wrote a small speech in case he was called upon, the last passage of which read, “Enjoy and appreciate your freedom here today knowing that it comes to us at a price with compliments of the United States military and their families.”