- The U.S. Naval Aviator Badge
- The American Campaign Medal
- The Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal
- The World War II Victory Medal
- The American Defense Service Medal
- The “Ruptured Duck” Award
- U.S. Navy Honorable Discharge Pin
- A United States Flag that had been flown over the U.S. Capitol
Those are the awards and medals that 100 year old Navy Veteran, Dario Raschio was presented in Portland, Oregon recently. During the ceremony, ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ protesters tried to prevent Mr. Raschio from receiving his awards.
Exercising your 1st Amendment Rights is one thing, thrusting your agenda down the throats of others is quite another.
U.S. Navy veteran Dario Raschio was all smiles Saturday as he awaited a special honor from U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, who joined him at Portland Community College’s Southeast Campus to present the 100-year-old with a handful of medals.
“I feel I’m no hero,” said Raschio, dynamic and spry, before the event. “I don’t accept it as being a hero. I accept it as being a part of my job.”
Soon, the chaos erupted.
Shortly after Wyden began speaking, though, protesters erupted in the back of the room, shouting “hands-up, don’t shoot!” More than 100 pushed through the doors, banged on the windows from outside and hoisted signs.
Raschio and his daughter, Pam Brown of Portland, had a front-row seat to the spectacle. Raschio’s smile faded.
Senator Wyden finally got the protesters to let the award ceremony continue.
Raschio’s smile returned as Wyden presented him with a frame filled with medals. He was awarded the U.S. Naval Aviator Badge, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the “Ruptured Duck” award and the U.S. Navy Honorable discharge pin.
He was also given a flag flown over the U.S Capitol.
“It is never too later for Oregon and America to remember one of our heroes,” Wyden said.
One of the many war stories Raschio had to tell stands out above the others for his bravery, and sense of duty.
Raschio joined the Navy at the age of 27. He piloted observational planes, and was based on the USS Chester. He participated in five campaigns in the Pacific Theatre.
One harrowing incident took place on Easter Sunday in 1944. He had been on a mission and took gunfire. When returning to the ship, his plane went down in the ocean and he figured that he and his passenger were likely to die in the water. A Navy destroyer came along a few hours later and rescued the pair, just as sharks were beginning to circle.
He then revealed the location of an ammo dump they had viewed from the sky on a South Pacific island. The dump was destroyed.
Raschio was less concerned with his exploits in the Navy, than with the lack of respect and total disregard for decorum that the protesters were showing. And he let them know it, too.
On Saturday, Raschio glossed over the incident. He seemed more concerned by the immediate action he was witnessing. As he grabbed the mic to speak, more shouts came from the back of the room, demanding the military exit from Iraq.
The feisty centenarian quickly responded, “Give me a chance” which brought chuckles from the audience. He further chastised the shouters, saying “Let’s show a little respect for this occasion,” to which the crowd applauded.
He accepted the medals on behalf of those who died in WWII and ended his short speech by saying, “God bless America. And you people that are here for a cause, whatever it might be—show respect to Sen. Wyden.”
Senator Wyden had a very observant remark about the entire incident.
Wyden said later, “I think that the symbolism of having a veteran 100 years old, who fought so gallantly so that those who disagree with government policies and want to exercise their First Amendment rights could be heard, that’s what made today so poignant.”
Read the full story here.