A Hero's Welcome in Watertown
It's fitting that a soldier would be the one to bring deceased World War II veteran Corrado Piccoli's Purple Heart back to the North Country.
"I wish more people could do this. I think every small town across America sould honor the veterans. Most of them are forgotten," says Captain Zachariah Fike.
Thanks to Capt. Zachariah Fike of the Vermont National Guard, Piccoli will never be forgotten. In an emotional ceremony on Saturday, his family passed his uniform and medals on to the Italian American Civic Club.
"It was unbelievable and I really didn't have a full appreciation of it until today, when I met the rest of the family and met Zach and heard the whole story about this. It was very touching," James Scordo of the Italian American Civic Club.
Fike's mother had bought the Purple Heart for her son, after finding it in an antique store. It took a year of searching, and a tour in Afghanistan, before Fike finally was able to bring Picolli's medal back home.
For Fike, it was a way to say "thanks."
"I hope he would smile. Maybe give me a hug. I think this was his ultimate message...I was just the messenger," says Fike.
For Picolli's family, it was nothing short of a miracle.
"I think it's spiritual. I think it's all meant to be. I think that there's life beyond death," says Piccoli's sister Adeline Rockko.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013, Watertown, NY