November 5 – Happy Birthday Anthony DeStefano

destefano2How quickly lives changed for Amsterdam residents during World War II. On the morning of November 27, 1944, Angeline DeStefano went to the mailbox of her home on 34 Racecourse St. and found a letter from her husband Anthony. Even though he was 34 years old at the time and the father of two young children, the Army had called him into service in March of that year, just one month after his second child, a son named Anthony Jr. had been born. I can imagine Angeline smiling when she realized what it was and running back into the house where she probably ripped it open and read it anxiously. She may have even read it out loud to the couple’s other child, three-year-old daughter Phyllis. The children had not seen their father since he had been shipped over to Europe four months earlier, right after the D-Day invasion had taken place.

Though the Army prevented soldiers from sharing too many specifics in their personal correspondence, the letter certainly indicated Anthony Sr. was well and that he missed them all so much. That’s why when Angeline answered a knock on her front door later that same day and was handed a telegram from the War Department her disbelief at the horrifying news the message brought her would have been especially understandable…

You can read the rest of my story about this native Amsterdam hero in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.

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