N. Babylon WWII vet receives honor from Belgium
An American World War II veteran received a belated military honor from Belgium Thursday for his service more than 70 years ago.
Joseph Ventri, 91, was at the time a private in the Army when he deployed to Europe in 1944.
He was a gunner with a mobile anti-aircraft artillery unit defending the Port of Antwerp in Belgium.
That unit is credited with setting a record by shooting down 361 "buzz bomb" cruise missiles and 40 bomber planes.
Belgian Brigadier Gen. Johan Andries presented Ventri with the Belgian Fourragere, a braided shoulder cord, on behalf of his country's minister of defense Thursday.
Ventri accepted the award with a bit of modesty.
"I don't feel like I'm a hero," he said. "I did what I was supposed to do. We were just good at it."
The ceremony was held in Ventri's North Babylon backyard. His four children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren were in attendance.