Navy vet from Syosset helps keep American spirit alive

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SYOSSET -

A Navy veteran from Syosset has made it his mission to keep the American spirit alive.

Gus Scutari was born with patriotism in his blood. The son of a World War I soldier, Scutari joined the Navy at age 21.

Now 97, Scutari is the driving force behind Syosset's Memorial Day parade, having orchestrated every step of it for 27 years. People even call him "Mr. Memorial Day."

"It remembers the veterans, and more important I would say, the veterans that died," he says.

Thirteen of Scutari's war buddies were killed on the USS Haynsworth when it was attacked by a Japanese kamikaze plane during the 1945 Battle of Okinawa.

"One minute, they're on earth. The next minute, they were gone," he recalls.

Scutari organized his first parade back in 1991. It consisted of only one float. Over the years, Scutari's patriotic spirit inspired thousands to join the march in memory of the fallen.

"Someone described him as a national treasure and that's not an exaggeration," says Barry Goldblatt, commander of the Syosset American Legion post. "He's incredible."

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