JESSUP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The American Legion and VFW in Jessup held their annual Veterans Day event.

Veterans, their families, and the community gathered at the borough’s veterans memorial.

Those who served shared stories with the crowd about their time in service, why it’s important to honor those who have served and who are currently serving, and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Many people who were in attendance were there to honor a World War II veteran who will be turning 96 next month.

After the Veterans Day ceremony, Attilio Vergari was honored for his service and dedication to this country.

U.S. Army veteran Vergari was escorted to American Legion Post 411 in Jessup Thursday. He’s a World War II Purple Heart veteran and stands today at the age of 95.

“I drink a lot of wine!” stated Vergari.

Vergari’s sense of humor has never faded. Rebecca Generotti-Drazowski read Vergari’s military journey that he started when he was drafted in June 1944, 15 days after graduating from Jessup High School. Soon after he was in Germany.

“We entered the city and found a wine cellar. Our captain told us not to drink so naturally, we took one bottle each,” read Generotti-Drazdowski.

His time at war wasn’t always fun. Especially fighting to help win the Battle of the Bulge in January of 1945.

“I fought the Germans until March 18th 1945. I was wounded by an artillery shell along with everyone in our half-track,” read Generotti-Drazdowski.

Vergari was operated on in a field hospital. Once he was cleared to go back to battle, the war was over.

“We stand on the shoulders of giants,” said Lieutenant Seth Loftus-Vergari.

Vergari’s grandson, a lieutenant in the Navy, gave an emotional tribute to his “Nonno.”

“You hugged us when we graduated and you will solute us today. You choose optimism and you showed me optimism. Doesn’t mean you can’t feel pain or sorrow but it means you weren’t defined by it,” explained Loftus-Vergari.

Seth saluting his grandfather for the first time in a decade.

“What a wonderful grandson. It’s a pleasure to have somebody like that,” stated Vergari.

Vergari was given a quilt of valor by the Northeast Pennsylvania chapter for his service and dedication to this country.

Along with the quilt of valor, Lackawanna County gave Attilio Vergari a proclamation for his service. Vergari will be 96 years old next month.