GUADALUPE, Calif. - A Guadalupe World War II veteran and surviving member of the Pathfinder paratroopers reflects on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in World War II.
The Pathfinders were, at that time, an Army Air Force unit of paratroopers who dropped down behind enemy lines in German-occupied France on the night before the D-Day invasion in Normandy 75 years ago.
96 year old Bindo Stasi Grasso of Guadalupe remembers that night 75 years ago.
"I jumped behind St. Mere Eglise and then we hid out all night", Grasso said, "then in the morning we set up, there were three of us, we set up the beacons for the invasion to come in."
"A lot of people ask me, weren't you scared?" Grasso says, "I guess I was, but with all the excitement and my age you know and everybody doing it, I wasn't going to back out."
From there, paratrooper Grasso and his unit moved on to Bastogne and the eventual Battle of the Bulge.
Looking back, Grasso remembers the friends he left behind on the battlefield.
"To me it was something I did that I had to do, you know, it wasn't something that I think was special, it was something that I had to do and I did, and that's it", Grasso said, "as far as 75 years ago, I'm glad its over, and we're at peace, it's all I can say, I don't want to go around telling people, yeah I did this and that, I just don't care about it you know, I don't feel like I need to do that."
Grasso remains confident in the role the United States had in the D-Day invasion and how it changed the course of history in Europe and the world.
"I think if it wasn't for the United States, I don't think our allies could have done it without our help", Grasso said.
One of 16 children born in New Jersey to Italian immigrant parents, Grasso is now a great, great-grandfather.
"I know people have asked me if you had to do it all over again what would you change, and I tell them I wouldn't change nothing", Grasso said, "I did what I had to do, and I'm home and I got my family and that's it."
Bindo Grasso's extended family continues the tradition of military service with family members currently serving and deployed.
Grasso continues to work for the American Legion in Guadalupe at age 96.