A local WWII New York veteran receives flag that flew over the US Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
John Manilla, from Skaneateles, New York has always been proud to fly his American flag. To him it is the symbol of the nation that he served during World War II as a waist gunner on a B-17 for the Army Air Corps.
However, this New Yorker became ever fonder of Old Glory earlier this year when his grandson presented him with an American flag that had flown over the US Capitol building in Washington, DC. His grandson, Stephen Sandora works in DC for a United States Representative of Pennsylvania and had the Congressman fly the flag in honor of his grandfather’s service.
Manilla said, “It was quite an honor. This is something I’ll always remember.”
Manilla was drafted into the Armed Forces in 1943 when he was only 18-years-old. He started with the Army Air Corps prior to the official establishment of the Air Force. Shortly after starting his first semester of college, Manilla received his call to duty. Even though he was drafted, Manilla likes to point out that he was still very happy to serve his country and protect the flag.
Manilla was part of the 385th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force at Royal Air Force Station Great Ashfield, located in the northern part of England. He flew a total of 33 missions over Germany.
Despite several scares and close calls, Manilla says he enjoyed serving his county so much that he stayed in Europe and extra two months after his discharge to work at the base post office. To this day, the New York veteran remains extremely proud of his service and loves to share his passion with his wife and family.
Manilla’s wife Marty also mentioned how much of an honor the flag was for her husband, especially since it flew in such a prominent area and it came from their grandson. Marty said, “I can’t tell you how excited he was to get the flag and how proud. He’s extremely proud of his service in the war… It was popular to sign up to become a part of defending the United States.”
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Credit: Auburn Pub