Liverpool World War II veteran receives special salute for 100th birthday

Local News

LIVERPOOL, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – It was a special salute for a Central New York World War II veteran who turned 100-years-old this week.

Courtesy of Honor Flight Syracuse, local police, fire, family and friends made sure Joseph Jonientz of Liverpool knows we’re all thankful for his service to our country.

“When you fly with Honor Flight Syracuse, you’re always a part of our family,” John Hall of Honor Flight Syracuse said. “Like all families, we bring a lot of friends, make a lot of noise and then we leave.”

Even at 100-years-old, Jonientz never expected a celebration including a four-gun salute presented by the Manlius VFW Post, a special caravan with music serenade, and even a special flag proclamation from Congressman John Katko presented by the 174th ATKW Honor Guard.

“I expected maybe a half of a dozen people. I didn’t realize I was appreciated that much”

joseph jonientz, celebrating 100 years

A proud World War II veteran, Jonientz enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps in January 1942. He courageously served in the 339th SVC Squadron in Africa and Italy.

Jonientz was trained as an aircraft technician but ended up patching bullet holes and planes, then rebuilding them.

One memory Jonientz vividly remembers is asking himself when he can get back home to the United States.

“I was overseas for 3 years and I kept wondering when am I going to make it to get home,” Jonientz explained.

Jonientz eventually made his way back home in 1945. He then raised a family who’s thankful he’s able to celebrate 100 years.

“It’s a gift,” Carolyn Jonientz, Joseph’s daughter, said. “It’s amazing that he’s finally being acknowledged for what he did because WWII veterans did not get acknowledged and it makes a big difference for him.”

“He’s had an incredible life. It has not always been easy. Most of his life has been a difficult struggle. Nothing was given to him. He worked for everything he ever accomplished, and he’s a good dad.

Rosemary jonientz, daughter

“It’s quite an honor to receive the flag, the plaque and all these people wishing me a happy birthday,” Jonientz said. “It’s a great surprise, I’ll tell you!”

If you know a veteran who’s due for a centenarian salute from Honor Flight Syracuse, click here for more information.

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