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William "Smitty" Pignatelli, the Patriot Guard Riders and Veterans Services Officer Rosanne Frieri gathered at McDonald's on West Housatonic Street at 6:15 a.m. for the send off.

A procession led by the Pittsfield Fire Department headed down Route 20, escorting Alfonso.

City Council President Melissa Mazzeo greeted Alfonso and wished him a safe trip.

Pittsfield WWII Veteran Taking Honor Flight To D.C

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
04:02PM / Saturday, May 03, 2014
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Louis Alfonso was greeted by state Rep. William 'Smitty' Pignatelli Saturday morning before being escorted on an Honor Flight to see the WWII monument.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — World War II veteran Louis Alfonso will finally see the monument erected in his and his comrades' honor.

Alfonso is off on a free trip to Washington, D.C., to see the World War II monument. The Pittsfield man enlisted in the Army at age 18 when the nation was involved in history's deadliest war.

"I could have been killed. I could have been over in France," Alfonso said Saturday morning when being greeted by representatives from the city, state, Fire Department and the Patriot Guard Riders to send him off.

Born and raised in Pittsfield, Alfonso tried to enlist to the Navy's pilot training program but was just less than an inch too short to make the cut. He then opted to join the Army's program instead.

Recently, he was at the local Veterans Affairs office when a nurse noticed the WWII veteran hat he was wearing and told him about the trip. The Honor Flight Network provides free trips to the monument for those who served in the war.

"I'd like to see it," Alfonso said, adding that he hadn't been able to get there before.

City Council President Melissa Mazzeo greeted Alfonso on Saturday morning and remembered how "moving" it was when she visited the monument.

"It is very moving and I hope you enjoy it. I'm glad to be able to see you off," she told him.

State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli said Alfonso is going to love the trip. He said giving veterans an opportunity to see the monument is the "least we could do" for those who gave so much for the country.

"I am very touched and honored to be here. I am very passionate about veterans. My namesake is my dad's best friend who was killed in World War II at the age of 19 so this is very personal to me," he said. "This is a special trip."

After the brief gathering, Alfonso hopped into a car with the city's Veterans Services Officer Rosanne Frieri, who drove him to the airport.

The vehicle was accompanied by members of the Patriot Guard Riders, and the chief and an engine from the Pittsfield Fire Department led the procession out of the city.

Tags: monument,   veterans,   veterans memorial,   world war,   

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