Almost a year has gone by since Rocco’s passing and I’ve been putting off updating this website, mainly because I didn’t want to change the “About” section and have to make it past tense. I started this website in 2013 as a way to keep track of all the happenings in Rocco’s life – events he was attending or honors he was being awarded. I also wanted to aggregate all the news articles written about him or interviews he gave so that they could all be found in one place and preserved for as long as the links stay live.
Rocco’s passing was hard on me, to say the least. We were very close and some days I find myself so stricken with grief that holding back tears becomes near impossible. Some nights I’ll listen to the messages he left on my phone just to hear his voice again before going to bed. But if you ever met Rocco you would know that it would upset him to hear that kind of talk. He would say something like “I don’t want you making a fuss over me!” because he was the most humble and selfless person I’ve ever met and he just wanted everyone to be happy.
In knowing this, I realized that fixing this website and keeping it going would be the best way to channel my sadness and to turn it into a celebration of Rocco’s life. And there’s no better time to honor him and continue to post about his life than on the surrounding anniversaries of D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge. I was fortunate enough to travel to Normandy for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, and I stood on Omaha Beach exactly 75 years after Rocco first landed ashore during the second wave. It was one of the greatest trips I’ve ever taken – and I will dedicate a few blog posts about the trip shortly.
So moving forward, this website will be part journal and part archive. When Rocco moved into the VA full time I acquired all of his (many) files and photos related to WWII. My goal is to digitize as much as possible, so that they may be shared with everyone and preserved eternally online, keeping Rocco’s joyful spirit alive.
— Jill, Rocco’s granddaughter