103-year-old WWII veteran from Reading receives several medals for valor

READING, MASS. (WHDH) - A lifetime of service is proudly displayed on the chest of 103-year-old Reading resident Peter Fantasia.

Congressman Seth Moultan awarded the veteran with his long-overdue medals at a special ceremony Monday — Fantasia earned them on the battlefield of World War II nearly 75-years-ago.

“God has been good. I don’t know what to say,” Fantasia said.

Moulton, a former Marine Core Officer, worked directly with the military to get the medals.

“He is a true example to the rest of the country and the community what American heroism is all about,” Moulton said.

Fantasia served as an Army medic and was captured while tending to American soldiers in France in November of 1944.

He was held as a prisoner of war until he was freed by Russian forces six months later.

Now, his family says the same values that made him a good solider, also made him a good father.

“To us, he’s dad. He has always put other people first,” Fantasia’s daughter Martha Mesiti said. “But, to have other people recognize how special he is — that’s amazing.”

Fantasia said he is grateful for the honor and to his brothers in arms who are with him in spirit.

“It wasn’t just myself,” he said. “I had help one way or another.”

In addition to the medals received today, Fantasia has also received a silver star — the nation’s third-highest decoration for valor in combat.

 

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