Mon Valley Made Its Presence Felt in Service to U.S

Article excerpt

Part 3 of 3

There was never a move to have Paul Denitti's body returned from France to the United States for burial in Monessen.

Denitti was killed in action on Aug. 10, 1944, while fighting with a U.S. Army tank unit in the liberation of France.

"People often ask why Paul was buried in France and why he remains there," said Mary Magdalene (Deborah) Wisyanski of Monessen, one of Denitti's surviving siblings. "My mother requested that he be buried there. She didn't want him to be disturbed. He died there and she wanted him to rest there for eternity."

Denitti, who served in the Civilian Conservation Corps before joining the Army, was well aware of his parents concerns about him and often wrote to them.

In a letter dated May 16, 1944, less than two months before his death, he wrote: "I am getting along fine and do hope to hear the same from you." He continued: "Thanks for the candy you sent me. Boy, it was really good stuff. I had to laugh when I saw that the kids bit into it. I'll bet you had them do it on purpose, huh? How's all the kids getting along? Fine I hope. It's been raining all day today and we didn't do much of anything. Do you know that 'Luxie' (Carl Zazac) is home on furlough, Pap? It's 16 months that he's been gone, you know. I suppose if you run into him you'll get him drunk as hell. Love, Health and Happiness to all."

In a letter two weeks later (May 30) from an undisclosed location, Denitti said, "I'm hoping the hell I come home soon. The weather here is funny and I'm getting tired of this place." He encouraged his parents and other family members to write, requested pictures of his siblings and urged his father to "have my crane (at Pittsburgh Steel) ready."

Saying he and his fellow soldiers hoped to "come home soon," Denitti told his mother the first thing he wanted her to have for his return "is a table full of grub, especially some good fryed (sic) potatoes."

Denitti, who enlisted in the Army on March 28, 1942, and who received a Purple Heart, among other awards, and several other of 56 Monessen men stationed at Camp Chafee, Ark., were featured in an Our Boys In Uniform picture in The Monessen Daily Independent on May 9, 1942. Others in the photo were Robert Foulks, Paul Palanzo, T. Panepinto, James Woods, George LaForte, Andrew Janosik, A. Pas, John Zagac, Kermit Palomaki, R. Saffin, J. Dalfonso, George Joseph, Larry Doyle, Robert Moffat and Arthur Colat.

"Monessen certainly had more than its share of men serving in World War II," Frank Steck said. …