Hello Folks, My name is Nancy Paonessa and I am from Niagara Falls New York and I would like to tell you about my Dad, Salvatore Paonessa Jr. My Dad passed away from complications of congestive heart failure on Good Friday in 2001 at the age of 77, he was a good man who retired from the Niagara County Sheriff''s department where he worked as a deputy for over 20 years. Because of him, both my brothers followed in his footsteps and are currently working in law enforcement. My one brother, Nick, is a captian of the Niagara Falls Police dept., and my brother Sal (the third) is a lieutenant in the NFPD, he is also working as a Lieutenant part time in the Youngstown, New York Police dept. and also part time in the Town of Niagara Police dept, my nephew Sal (the fourth) is currently working as a guard at the Niagara County Jail, however my great nephew Sal (the fifth) will only be 3 years old this coming February so he isn't working in law enforcement just yet, but who knows he might follow in the family tradition!
My Dad has told us of some really remarkable stories from when he was fighting in World War Two. Once he told us of the time when he was lying in his bunk, when he was on edge wondering if he was going to make it to see the light of day. He had told us that during the night, he prayed to the Lord to give him a sign that he would survive the night. He said that later that night, he felt a lump under his mattress and when he got up to see what it was, to his surprise, there was a little bible under the mattress, it was opened up to a passage (I can't remember what passage it was) but the passage gave him hope, The weirdest thing about it, is the fact that the next day, he asked everyone else if they knew who the bible belonged to and nobody knew who owned it!
Another story that made me know that someone was watching my Dad from up above, was when his platoon was stationed in France some of the men wanted to go to a local theater to see a movie that was playing at the time and my Dad and some of the other men in the barracks didn't feel like going. However they convinced my Dad to go and he started to go out the door, but all of a sudden, he got a weird feeling as if something told him not to go. He decided at the last minute to sit this movie out, and he stayed at the barracks, and all I can say is "Thank God for that feeling", because the movie theater was bombed that night and everyone in the theater was killed. If my Dad would have gone to the movies, I would never have been born, neither would Sal, Nick, or my sister Cathy, and the world would have never gotten to know what a wonderful and peaceful man my Dad was.
He also told us of another time, when they were on the beaches of Normandy, a beached called (as my Mom remembers it) Anzio beach, when the ship pulled up to the beach, they had to anchor a slight distance from the land because the ship was too big to go right up to the beach. The man had to jump off of the ship, and most of them thought that since it wasn't too deep, that they could walk through the water, My Dad said, as he watched the men get off, they were carrying a lot of heavy equipment, and a lot of the men just sunk to the bottom of the ocean from all the weight and never came up again. Since my Dad has never learned to swim, he was getting really scared and then he noticed that there were trucks backing up to the ship carrying supplies, so he said that instead of jumping into the water, he climbed onto the back of one of the trucks and rode safely to the shore!
I always loved hearing my Dad tell about his stories about the miracles that keep him alive during the war! I hope that all the veterans living or dead know that I appreciate them fighting for our country and say thank you! I hope that all the men and women who are overseas at this very moment make it home safe and sound, and one day be able to tell their children and grandchildren their stories of survival like my Dad did.
To all, have a safe and happy Veterans day and always remember the men and women who fought and died for us and the ones who are still fighting and to pray for their safety and to thank them for risking their lives for us! Thank You Nancy Paonessa