Updated 07/04/2012 05:34 PM
Two Veterans, One Name, One Unique Bond
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While everywhere else, celebrations are what you might expect, the Village of Mount Morris observes the Fourth with a vigor not commonly seen.
Everywhere you look: red, white, and blue. Even the man who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance, was born here.
And then, there's Joe Christiano: local veteran, and strong patriot.
"Christmas Eve, 24th of December, 1965,” he said. “Missing in action."
It was that night, Joe Christiano first learned of a man who shares his name, but is not a relative.
"I kind of aligned myself to the family."
Joseph Christiano: a local airman missing since the Vietnam War.
“Throughout the years...I just kept following the story on it."
“It was three or four years ago when another unexpected connection surfaced.
"A friend of mine... found the bracelet, at his house."
Joseph Christiano's MIA bracelet, given to family and friends years ago.
"They have these just to show remembrance, and hope that they find these people. So I says, 'Can I have it?' He says, 'Sure!' A friend of mine buffed it up for me, and I've worn it ever since. I said I'd take it off when they find him."
On Tuesday, the bracelet came off.
"I learned that they found the sure identification."
Joseph Christiano will be buried Monday at Arlington National Cemetery.
"I can feel relieved that the family's relieved, and most important is what we've accomplished, by our servicemen giving their life for their country."
A Korean War veteran himself, Joe Christiano has dedicated his life to remembering fallen servicemen as caretaker for Mount Morris' grand Veterans Memorial.
On this Fourth of July holiday, one chapter of Joe's dutiful life, has come to an end.
"Yeah, it shows that what he gave to us, freedom... that it's not wasted. A life isn't wasted. And these younger generations should take a look at this."