DANSVILLE — A family of hometown heroes fought for our freedom during the greatest generation.
Genesee Country Express sat with NYS Assemblyman Joe Errigo’s Community Liaison Mike Palmesano as he talked about the impact his father and uncles had on WWII.
Dansville Area Historical Society Member David Gilbert is working on getting his newest book “Dansville War Diary” published soon. It is a month by month journal of the local effect on WWII.
Palmesano came to offer his family’s story as a way to help the museum understand the importance of the war in Dansville.
Perhaps the most notable soldier to come from Dansville was Edward Perry, Palmesano’s uncle. Edward Perry was part of the Bataan Death March and he survived to talk about it.
“Ed was the most notable soldier in Dansville,” Palmesano said. “I knew him really well.”
On 12 Clay Street Mary Anna Vogler, Palmesano’s grandmother, and Mary Louise Perry, Palemsano’s mother waited for them all to come home. The Blue Star Flag was put up in the window, and this is a very important item that Palmesano has kept.
“I lived on 12 Clay Street, and the house looks exactly the same as it did when I was born,” he said. “My father, Pfc.Peter Palmesano, served in the Armed Forces in Europe. He enlisted in 1942.”
Once there Pfc. Palmesano mailed a German rifle back home to his brother-in-law Robert Perry.
“He told Bob to save it for his first son if he didn’t come back home,” he said. “When Uncle Bob was on his deathbed 15 years ago he told me my dad had sent something 50 years ago to be given to me.”
The Perry brothers; Joe, Robert, Edward, and Albert Perry all entered WWII along with their brother-in-law Peter Palmesano. They were all Dansville boys, and all made an impact on the community when they came home.
Joe Perry was the bachelor who ran the Old Madrid and Brae Burn. Edward Perry survived the whole war in a terrible historic prisoner march. Robert and Albert Perry were good men as well.
“Ed was captured in the start of the war and in the Philippines Bataan Death March. He was taken to a POW camp in Japan. Ed is buried in the Arlington National Cemetery.”
Palmesano lost his father at a young age, and said he was the best father that ever was.
“My father died when I was 19 years old, and I didn’t get many stories from him,” Palmesano said. “He did send back a voice recording to my mother on a vinyl record. He was stationed in Italy and met the Pope. He had several things blessed by the Pope that got handed down to me.”
Peter Palmesano was born close to Naples, Italy, and this is where he spent much of his time in the war. He was known for being kind, and one of the boys there asked him for candy. It turned out to be a cousin of his.
Sgt Maj. Mike Palmesano served 26 years in the National Guard to honor his father and uncles. He retired in 1993.
Gilbert said the Bataan Death March was the worst war atrocity in WWII.
“They would shoot you if you stumbled or fell,” he said. “They didn’t get any food or rest. Ed survived the march because we was a robust man to begin with.”
One problem of the WWII era is there are not a lot of photos taken in the Dansville area. If anyone has any photos they would like to share with the Dansville Area Historical Society please contact the museum.