Long overdue recognition for WW2 veteran from Albany

December 05, 2017 06:18 PM

Jane Weber and her brothers, Peter and David Szary, were very young when their father died.

Joseph Szary of Albany was a sergeant in the Army Air Corps in World War II, one of four brothers who all served. He died when he was 35.

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"I noticed that Memorial Day, the two uncles whose graves were marked had flags placed and my father never did," said Weber.  "And I thought gee, that seems terrible.  He was in the service overseas for three years during the war.  And so I would always take the flag and put it there."

She tried without success for years to get a military grave marker, but always heard back: it's too late.

"So I finally kind of gave up, and I felt it's just not going to happen," said Weber.  "I felt terrible about it.  It really hurt that my father's service wasn't marked there and when we're gone, that's it.  Who would ever know?"

Friend P.J. Higgitt, a retired U.S. Army sergeant, wasn't about to let that happen.  He kept at it and helped to get a medallion which will soon be attached to the civilian marker.

"He's a veteran," said Higgitt.  "He served his country and like Jane and her brothers were saying earlier, when they're gone, if we don't recognize him now, generations later, people will have no idea that he ever served in the military."

Weber is grateful. She also found that this experience has made her feel closer to her father.

"I saw papers with his actual signature on them.  I just put my hand on it and touched it and it was really very touching, very meaningful to me," she said.

This has been a labor of love -- and pride.

"I think it was a great thing," said Weber.  "So many were called then, and did what they did.  We might be speaking a different language if it wasn't for all of them.  It was important, really important, the sacrifice that they made."

They'll put the medallion on their father's grave in Our Lady of Angels cemetery in Colonie Monday morning, and NewsChannel 13 plans to bring you that ceremony, too.  


Kumi Tucker

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