Lessons of a Lifetime from a World War II Veteran

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OLD FORGE -- There are tributes to veterans happening throughout our area this week, and one school in Lackawanna County got a lesson that's rarer and rarer to hear firsthand.

A World War II veteran told his story of surviving D-Day in his role as a medic trying to save his fellow soldiers.

"It never goes away, the memories will always be there, but as far as being nervous, no, you did what you had to do and you did it."

Frank Feduik sat on a stage at Old Forge High School and told a story of heroism. He certainly wouldn't call it that but these students hung on every word from this 92-year-old former sailor from Jefferson Township describing his role in one of the world's most well-known battles  -- D-Day.

"Let me tell you, the Germans were terrific fighters, well planned, well everything; they were just good. They had been fighting the war for years. And we came in there, a bunch of kids like me. What did we know about it? We had to improvise. You improvise to save your life but you could only do certain things," Feduik said.

History lessons may have shown students the images of that day when our troops stormed the beaches of Normandy invading Europe.

But that's nothing like hearing from a man who saw the horrors firsthand, who, as a U.S. Navy medic, ran from victim to victim, soldier to soldier, trying to save them.

"To be truthful, I don't know if I could do it again."

Now, 73 years later, he doesn't have to but he's still playing a vital role telling his story to students who seem to realize this is an experience they should treasure and took advantage by asking questions.

"I wish I could go back in time, like a fly on the wall and see what was going on," said senior Brendan Mozeleski.

"I think what he did no one could ever repay him for. It's a true honor to be in his presence," said senior Santo Cerminaro.

Santo Cerminaro is following Frank Feduik's lead. Cerminaro has enlisted in the Navy, too, and got important inspiration from this veteran's story.

"You do what you have to do, and set your heart to anything, you can achieve anything you want in life," Cerminaro said.

A plaque was presented with plenty of applause, but the gratitude in this room clearly went beyond all that.


  • Robert

    God bless this generation of Americans. May their courage, determination and sacrifice for their loved ones and way of life have not been in vain. Amen.

  • El~Ma

    I was raised in a post-WWII family. My father served in that war, and the next two. He and my brother both retired from military service after 26 years, and my brother returned from Viet Nam in his uniform and was spat upon by protesters thronging the San Francisco airport terminal.

    Those of us who have never served cannot comprehend what our veterans have experienced, and it behooves us to thank them all for their service, regardless of what WE might imagine their motivation for serving is.

    Thank you, veterans and active duty military, and my sincere thanks to your families and loved ones who support, encourage, and pray for you, each day.

  • warningfakenews

    There’s no comment section under “Do you know this veteran” so I’ll place it here.

    Absolutely! I recognized him right away. That’s the guy who put off his plans to have and raise a family, and to go into battle to fight for our freedoms we take for granted. Even though only a small percentage of us vote, he committed his life to fighting for freedom and liberty, anyhow.
    He’s the guy who has chosen to spend many lonely nights, far away from home, after what seemed like almost endless training and doesn’t complain about any of that.
    He works for us, true, but we pay him so little that he qualifies to have food stamps. He believes in God and country and knows which comes first. I could go on and on, but you get the point. We owe the gentleman in THIS piece a big thank you, as well as the nameless soldier who took up arms to keep us safe. God bless all the vets!

    • El~Ma

      They behave like that out of sheer ignorance. Drop the down-voters and nay-sayers into the middle of Afghanistan, Turkey, Zimbabwe, Somalia, or a hundred other places and they wouldn’t last for 24 hours. Without a Starcuck’s coffee shop, WiFi, or their Playstations, they’d lose their fragile minds in a mighty big hurry.

  • CeeMe

    Our great people are the reason why America is exceptional. Even “well everything” warmongers, couldn’t defeat us. That’s why I’m proud to be an American and every other country pales compared to us. Just ask the Mexicans.

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