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Tribute to be Given to World War II Hero After 71 Years Lost at Sea
A soldier who helped to end the Second World War is being honored with a documentary, memorial and monument many decades after his fateful, yet important voyage on the USS Indianapolis.
By: Actum Fide
Years later, Palmer learned that Rozzano had not only perished during the War, but had died on the USS Indianapolis, the Navy ship that delivered the Atomic bomb components which ended World War II. Just days after delivering the important cargo, the ship was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. The vessel went down in 12 minutes, leaving most of the 1196 crew members to fend for themselves in shark infested waters. Being such a secret mission, the men went without rescue for 5 nights and 4 days. The men endured dehydration, hypothermia, saltwater poisoning and shark attacks, leaving only 317 survivors. Rozzano never made it home.
When Palmer learned the tragic truth of her great uncle's fate, she asked where his tombstone was so that she could pay respect to her brave ancestor. It was at that point that she learned he had never received a tribute of any kind. "He was never given a funeral, a memorial, or obituary because his parents and siblings held on to the hope that he would one day be found" Palmer said. Decades later, there was little to acknowledge that he had ever even existed. Unable to bear that truth, Palmer set out to give Rozzano the honor he so greatly deserved.
For nearly a decade, Palmer interviewed and corresponded with dozens of Rozzano's USS Indianapolis shipmates and family members. She collected photographs, stories and history in an effort to uncover mystery and bring closure to his passing. Her journey resulted in a documentary film and park monument, both in tribute to Rozzano's heroic service.
On April 9, 2016, a memorial will be held in Lorain, Ohio's Veteran's Park. Seventy-one years after his passing, Rozzano will be given the tribute he has always deserved. Family, friends, veterans, community members, shipmates and their families from across the globe will all attend the service to salute an American hero.
During the program, the monument will be dedicated, Lorain Mayor, Chase Ritenaur, will deliver a proclamation, and Michael Miller, from The Cleveland Orchestra, will play Taps. A colorguard presentation will be given by the Italian American Veteran Association and a statement will be made by Dan Gillotti, Veteran of the Year. In addition, a poem will be read by great niece, AnnMaureen Rozzano. Palmer, a singer-songwriter, will also share a song she wrote for Johnnie. A flag, scheduled to fly in Johnnie's honor above the USS Indianapolis memorial in Indiana, will be received by nephew Mike Rozzano and shall be presented to Johnnie's two living sisters, Fran Bradley (92) and Jennie Bucci (95). The flag tribute is being made possible by Maria Eck Bullard, chairperson of the USS Indianapolis' Second Watch Organization. Other presentations will be made by nieces Sharon Sweda and Louise Hahn, nephews Jack W. Bradley and Sam R. Bradley, and namesake John Anthony Rozzano. The memorial tribute is being funded by the loved ones of John Rozzano Jr. and is being organized by Debora Bradley. The stone is being created by Lewis Monument Company in Lorain.
The documentary will premiere at a local cinema after the memorial ceremony. Palmer produced and directed the film. Serendipitously, a major motion picture, starring Nicholas Cage, will be released nationally this summer, further sharing the important story of the USS Indianapolis and the brave men who served and sacrificed on the heroic voyage.
"Johnnie deserved to be thanked, to be remembered" Palmer says "and what a priviledge that I was somehow chosen to help carry out that destiny."
A preview of the film can be viewed on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/
Jaclyn Bradley Palmer
Page Updated Last on: Feb 09, 2016