WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- John Politi earned three combat service medals for his Navy service 70 years ago -- and Westchester officials presented them to the Mount Vernon resident recently.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Ron Tocci, director of the county’s Veterans Service Agency presented Politi with the medals: the World War II Victory Medal, American Theater Medal and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal.
"Mr. Politi never asked for this recognition but the responsibility is ours to see to it that all that is owed to our veterans is paid to them the best we can," Astorino said at the Friday, Aug. 19, presentation. "The courageous service and selfless sacrifice of men like Mr. Politi serves as an example for all of us, and it also serves as a beacon for the next generation."
Politi's children learned of the medals when they were going through some of his papers. They contacted the Veterans Service Agency, and Tocci and his staff worked to secure the three medals from the Department of Defense.
Politi fought in the Battle of Guam, which that recaptured the strategic Pacific island from the Japanese.
"These medals are not to honor me as an individual," Politi said. "They are to honor all of the men and women, able or disabled, which over time have defended our country, the greatest county in the world."
Politi, 91, is a lifelong resident of Mount Vernon. After his military service, he became a master machinist and tool and die maker. He still lives in the first home he ever purchased, now with his daughter Patricia. His wife, Elizabeth died 20 years ago.