By Beth David, Editor
In a last and final tribute to WWII veteran Manny Sylvia, a group of veterans and friends gathered together on 11/11/20 to read from his service record and burn his casket flag and service records at the Charles F. Albaugh Memorial Flagpole at the Main Street/195 overpass in Fairhaven.
Mr. Sylvia served in WWII and received the Bronze Star for his service as a Utilities Sergeant on the infamous beach of Normandy in France on June 6, 1944.
His job was to make sure “food and water were brought up from the beach for the personnel who could not leave to care for themselves,” reads the citation.
He improvised for many items that were lost during the landing, which enabled staff sections to operate in a “much more efficient manner than otherwise would have been possible,” reads the citation.
“By his constant untiring devotion to duty without regard for his personal comfort, Sergeant Sylvia made a marked contribution to the efficient operation of the Corps Headquarter in all operations on the continent. His service is most commendable,” reads the citation.
Mr. Sylvia, from New Bedford, enlisted in the army on November 16, 1936, and reenlisted on September 20, 1939. He was honorably discharged on June 20, 1945.
According to his separation record, he served in battle in Normandy, Northern Franco, and Rhineland. He received the European African Middle Eastern Theater Campaign Ribbon with Bronze Service Arrowhead; American Theater Campaign Ribbon; Bronze Star Medal; America Defense Service Medal (with clasp); Good Conduct Medal; Lapel Button WWI Victory Medal and American Defense Service Medal.
Mr. Sylvia was issued a proclamation by the Fairhaven Selectboard on January 14, 2001, on his 90th birthday. He was also issued a Certificate of Appreciation from the Fairhaven Lions Club on March 3, 2001.
Mr. Sylvia lived in Fairhaven for many years and served on a variety of committees and boards, including the Finance Committee. He was also a member of civic organizations, including the Fairhaven Improvement Association and the Lions Club.
Mr. Sylvia was born on January 14, 1911 and died on December 7, 2008 at the age of 97. He was predeceased by his wife Marie by several years.
They had no children, and in his final years he had no known living relatives, but he had many close friends who took good care of him in his later years.
Mr. Sylvia, who listed his occupation as “chauffeur” on his enlistment papers, drove bus for Medeiros Bus Company for decades. Owners Sally land John Medeiros, and their daughter Pamela Corcoran all have fond memories of the long time employee.
“He was a good friend,” said Mr. Medeiros at the ceremony, but clearly became too emotional to elaborate.
“He was a very nice man, a very nice man,” said Ms. Corcoran, 59, who remembered him from when she was a teenager.
Jack Daly, a Navy veteran, also attended the event, he said, to “express my respect” for Mr. Sylvia.
Claudette Costa said she went to honor Mr. Sylvia who was a good friend and a member of the Lions Club.
Mike Manley, who read from Mr. Sylvia’s service record and other documents, said he did not know Mr. Sylvia, but wanted to contribute. He said those closest to Mr. Sylvia were probably too emotional to do it.
“It’s such a nice thing to do, especially on Veterans Day,” said Mr. Manley.
“My dad was a World War II veteran,” said Ed Dennehey, a Coast Guard veteran. He said he attended to pay his respects and make sure the Coast Guard was represented.
Support local journalism, donate to the Neighb News with PayPal.
Click here to download the entire 11/19/20 issue: 11-19-20 MannySylviaTribute