Every morning, 95-year-old John Mastrocola sits outside his Torrington, Connecticut home to wave the American flag. He's one of the few remaining World War II veterans who are still alive. That is why he made it his mission to remind folks to respect the flag and country they are in, something he said most Americans are lacking.
"I am one of the very few World War II veterans left so before I leave I want them to remember John 'never surrender' Mastrocola,'" the veteran told WTIC-TV. "Once you disrespect the flag, the country goes down the tubes."
On average, Mastrocola said he spends two to two-and-a-half hours on the sidewalk waiving the American flag. The longest he has spent in his chair with his flag is five-and-a-half hours.
"I'm dying of cancer. I'm less than 100 pounds but as long as I can keep coming out here I will. When you don`t see me out here then you`ll know," he said.
Some in the town wave, others salute and many know his name.
To salute the veteran, the community gathered on Saturday to participate in a parade, all in his namesake. Dozens of cars with American flags drove by and honked at Mastrocola.
"This is what we fought for, from the Revolutionary War to this very day. This is what we fought for," he said, proudly waving the flag.
Seeing people from all over Connecticut come together to pay tribute to Mastrocola brought tears to his eyes. He said it is something he will never forget.