Every morning, 95-year-old World War II vet John Mastrocola rises at 8 a.m., sets up his lawn chair alongside Litchfield Street, outside his home, and waves his American flag at passersby.
He became a fixture for locals in his town of Torrington, Connecticut, who came to expect his patriotic greeting each day; and they recently returned the Navy veteran’s goodwill gesture with a car parade in his honor.
Mastrocola stood, smiled, and saluted as dozens of cars rolled by, flags flying and honking horns, in a show of patriotism and appreciation along Litchfield Street.
“This is what I fought for,” the former sailor said. “And once you disrespect the flag, the country goes down the tubes." These days, too few people in America respect the country they call home, the 95-year-old vet said.
The patriotic veteran is dying of cancer. Nevertheless, he says it is his final mission in life to fly the American flag.
He adds, “I’m dying of cancer. I’m less than 100 pounds—but as long as I can keep coming out here, I will. When you don’t see me out here then you’ll know.”
All cars were welcome for the event, the parade organizer said, and they expected around 50 people to participate.
Meanwhile, shows of support for the American flag have been popping up in other places around the country recently.
Members of the public responded with honks of support and wishes of “God Bless America.”
Uss told Fox the purpose was to teach his son how meaningful such a small gesture could be. “And I wanted him to see that something so small could be so big, and it could be an amazing, amazing positive change,” he said.