Prime Time: More World War II experiences of Bristol native Nick Provenzano

Published on Sunday, 31 December 2017 21:05
Written by Bob Montgomery

Staff Writer

The previous “Prime Time” column talked about Nick Provenzano’s WWII experiences overseas. The following are other clips from his military days.

Along with the toils of war, there was occasional humor thrown in. One day, when he and his unit were within 15 miles of the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium, the enemy made a push to reclaim an area that was once theirs, threatening to overrun the section the Bristol man’s unit was occupying. He was on guard duty that day, and because they weren’t armed in the kitchen in the area that was part of his security duty, he said the head sergeant was asked: “If we are run over, what should we do?” The man-in-charge answered with, “Throw whatever you have at them, pots and pans, etc., dishes, knives….”

Again, at that same Battle of the Bulge, the Bristol soldier was assigned guard duty on a night of frigid temperatures, resulting in frozen feet. Hospitalized for three days, a doctor with the rank of major visited to release him from the hospital.

Before he left the room he said to Provenzano, “I’m going to see if you are eligible for a Purple Heart!”

The doctor laughed along with Provenzano as he left the room.

R & R

After he had put in 10 months of active duty from Utah Beach to Aachen, and with the war ended in the European Theater, the Bristol soldier was pictured as shown here on R & R and that was on the balcony of the Hotel Negresco in Nice in also capturing picture-wise the Promenade des Anglais, the beach and Mediterranean Sea below.

Sadly, during the Bastille Day Celebration in 2016, that promenade photographed was the same in which a terrorist operating a truck killed 85 spectators, along with many others being injured.

60th anniversary of D-Day

In 2004, ceremonies were held at many American cemeteries throughout the European Theater and in November of that year, Provenzano attended one at the Rhone Valley American Cemetery at Draguignan, France, where he was among those presented a pin by the Association Les Fleurs de la Memoire for his participation in the cause to free the country.

There are 800 interred at this location and the ceremony was impressive and attended by many American veterans and their family members.

“It was difficult to hold back the tears,” Provenzano said. “There is a difference in seeing a photo of the crosses marking each grave and seeing them firsthand. That’s when it hits home. The tears came at the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner” ending the event.

“The people of France sincerely appreciated what we Americans accomplished in freeing them from the previous occupation of their country. I was honored to receive the pin presented by a member of the association. I thank God for returning me safely home.”

Write to Bob Montgomery, c/o The Bristol Press, 188 Main St., Bristol, CT 06010. Email or call 860-973-1808.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Sunday, 31 December 2017 21:05. Updated: Sunday, 31 December 2017 21:07.