Awards a Long Time Coming –CagleMay 2012 By Erik Cagle
Bits and Pieces
Philip Sangenario left this world in 1991. His tale, like those of many from Mr. Sangenario’s generation, was never given the recognition it deserved. Men from “The Greatest Generation” didn’t seek out parades or accommodations, even though they were clearly merited. But this former vice president of Colonial Press—a Clinton, MA, print shop that closed in 1977—has an amazing story, one which finally resulted in long-overdue recognition.
According to information from Mr. Sangenario’s obituary in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, he served with the 101st Airborne Division during World War II in the “European-African-Middle Eastern theater.” He parachuted into Normandy, France, on D-Day (June 6, 1944) from the first of 20 airplanes of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes in Belgium, the Rhineland in Germany and Central Europe.
Despite his bravery and heroics, Mr. Sangenario kept much of those experiences to himself. And when he died in 1991, Mr. Sangenario was never honored with medals he had earned on the battlefield. But, thanks to his brother, John Sangenario, the former Colonial Press executive has finally gotten the recognition he deserves.
John Sangenario, 81, stepped to the podium in his brother’s stead and accepted several medals awarded posthumously to Philip Sangenario during a Feb. 23 ceremony at Pease Air National Guard Base in Portsmouth, NH, according to the Telegram and Gazette. The younger Sangenario pursued the medals at the urging of a local historian, and after a few unsuccessful attempts by John Sangenario to procure the honors, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) helped make it happen.
According to the newspaper, the late Mr. Sangenario’s brother accepted a laundry list of medals: the Bronze Star Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Presidential Unit Citation with a bronze oak leaf cluster, good conduct medal, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign medal with four bronze service stars with an arrowhead, World War II Victory Medal, Honorable Service Lapel Button and a parachutist badge.
The accolades may have come decades after the fact, and the man himself has been dead for more than 20 years. Even so, to all of us, these medals don’t represent just the efforts of Philip Sangenario, but those of countless young men and women who either anonymously risked their lives or gave them altogether in the interest of global peace.