(WYTV) – A local World War II veteran had quite the last couple of months, being recognized for his service to our country.
It was an emotional trip of a lifetime for Al Kosiba.
“It was such a moving experience,” he said.
Two weeks ago, Kosiba was among 70 veterans to complete their latest mission — a bus trip to Washington D.C. from Pittsburgh.
But the Honor Flight is so much more than a sightseeing trip — it’s a salute.
“When you go to Washington and see these — what we paid for, those people who have given their life for this country, for your freedom, my freedom — unbelievable,” Kosiba said.
The veterans spent the day in our nation’s capital, seeing the memorials built as a tribute to their service.
“All you see is a name but behind that name was a person who sacrificed his life for our safety,” Kosiba said.
Two months ago, Kosiba was honored for his role in the liberation of France during the annual D-Day reenactment in Conneaut. He proudly wore the French Legion of Honor medal he received.
He said it’s an event everyone should see.
“You’ll get better perspective of what I experienced when we landed, and the bow of the ship opened and we drove off.”
Weeks before that, Kosiba took the mound at Eastwood Field, throwing out the first pitch during the Scrappers’ Military Appreciation Night.
That’s where he first shared with us his experience in the war.
“That’s three-and-a-half years of my life, but I came out of that thing alive and I thank God every day for that,” he said. “We never should lose sight of the fact that our freedom is so special, so precious…We don’t want anybody to try to take it away from us.”
Kosiba said he’s having the time of his life, recently celebrating his 99th birthday.
“The recognition and the outpouring of all of this patriotism makes me feel real good. It’s been a wonderful life.”
There’s so much more to his story, which starts in Trumbull County in the 1940s. While Kosiba had a very exciting summer, he also shared a lot about his experience in the Army during World War II.
You can see that story during a special presentation of Veterans Voices, airing on 33 WYTV Monday, November 11 at 7:30 p.m.