Judge Caprio: Nicholas Manzo. Morning, sir. Mr. Manzo?
Judge Caprio: You have a red light violation.
Judge Caprio: On Pleasant Valley Parkway. Do you remember this?
93-Year-Old: Well, in fact, I went and investigated four or five times. I was wrong. No question about it. I made a right-hand turn. And that’s the first violation I’ve got in 72 years of driving.
Judge Caprio: Really?
93-Year-Old: Yep. Look up my record.
Judge Caprio: I’m going to look it up.
Judge Caprio: Mr. Manzo, I ask you a question. Monitor here indicates that you are 93 years old.
93-Year-Old: Right. World War II veteran. Spent 29 months in the Pacific. Okay? Without coming back. And came back alive.
Judge Caprio: Where were you in the Pacific?
93-Year-Old: I was in the Navy.
Judge Caprio: You were in the Navy?
Judge Caprio: How long did you serve?
93-Year-Old: I served for three years. 1943 February, on my 17th birthday, I joined the Navy and I didn’t come back for three years. And the truth of the story is I can tell you a little story if you’ve got a few minutes.
Judge Caprio: I want to hear it.
93-Year-Old: I joined the Navy when I was 16 years old. I went up to Federal Hill, Holy Ghost Church. I got my birth certificate, I forged it, I made myself 17 years old. And I went down to the recruiting station, I joined the Navy. Everything went fine until two weeks later the policeman in the Navy come up and they wanted to arrest me because I forged my birth certificate. But I waited another year and I left Mount Pleasant high school and I went in the Navy. And I spent three years, 29 months in the Pacific. Every battle that was in the Pacific, I was there, I was in it.
Judge Caprio: I receive letters from people every day. And I received a number of letters from veterans who actually send me checks. And the purpose for them sending me checks is to help other veterans. Now, I would really dismiss your case outright anyway. You know, I would dismiss it. And it’s not going to go on your record, but I’m not going to have you pay anything of this. But I have a gentleman who sent me a check for $50 and he wants to, he wants me to … He said his father was a World War II Navy veteran and please use this to honor him and his service as a veteran. And you were World War II Navy veteran, as well. So I’m going to use this check, this is from Anthony Christianson. And Mr. Christianson is from, looks like panhandle Texas. Tell me about your experiences during the war.
93-Year-Old: Well, I was on board ship, a big ship, a battleship, and we were in many, many battles. Many of them. The worst one I seen was Iwo Jima. That was terrible. We lost more Marines in that invasion than I think any other war outside of the Battle of the Bulge, that was the worst I said was … You couldn’t believe how bad that was.
Judge Caprio: You were there?
93-Year-Old: I was there. Yes, I was. I was in every battle in the Pacific from 1943 to 1945. We didn’t miss one, not one. And they were brutal.
Judge Caprio: Well, you have been known as the greatest generation and you were the greatest generation. And you said something earlier, second world war brought about a sense of patriotism in this country that we have not seen since.
Judge Caprio: But there was such strong patriotism that here you were a 16 year old boy and you wanted to go and fight for your country. So much so that you even forged the document to try to get into the service to go and protect the country.
93-Year-Old: And I got caught.
Judge Caprio: But you went back.
93-Year-Old: I went back a year later, right on my birthday I joined the Navy. And within three or four months, I was out in the Pacific. My father was an immigrant, came into this here country at 18 years old and couldn’t get a job, but things were tough. So he joined the army and he went into World War I and he was there for 18 months and he survived, he came home. And that’s how he became a citizen.
Judge Caprio: They should build a monument to your family, between your father in World War I and you and all your cousins.
93-Year-Old: My uncles.
Judge Caprio: And your uncles in World War II. Unbelievable. And they all came back.
93-Year-Old: We all came back. Yeah. Every one of us.
Judge Caprio: I can’t thank you enough for your service.
93-Year-Old: Thank you, thank you.
Judge Caprio: Good luck to you.
Speaker 3: And at 93, Judge, he’s got a wonderful head of hair too. I got to commend him for that.
93-Year-Old: Well I remember when the Judge had a nice head of hair too.
Speaker 3: He still does.
93-Year-Old: We could bring back them old days, huh?
Judge Caprio: They were wonderful days. These are wonderful days too, except that we don’t have the sense of family and community that we had back then.
93-Year-Old: You’re right.
Judge Caprio: Thank you for your service. We owe you a great debt of gratitude.
93-Year-Old: Thank you. You’re welcome.
Judge Caprio: My pleasure just to be in the room with you.