Even at 100 years old, people still call him "Tony the Kid," or just "Bambino."
Anthony Barrasso, a World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, celebrated his 100th birthday Thursday in East Boston.
Barrasso served with the 101st Infantry Division. His daughter, Denise, says 73 years later, he still vividly describes being caught in a snowy foxhole for 12 days.
“And he also talks about the great air power that came during the Battle of the Bulge when they could finally get out of the foxhole," she said. "He cries at night in his sleep because he has PTSD.”
All these years later, Barrasso still hears those planes.
“I cried in the beginning — I didn’t want to go in," Barrasso said of joining the army. "But I cried when I came out — I didn’t want to leave my friends.”
After coming home, he worked 25 years with the Old Mr. Boston distillery and raised a family, including Denise, who says she was adopted when she was 5 days-old. Denise was one of several speakers at a party in her father's honor at the Don Orione home in East Boston.
“You’re a good father, a good friend, and you're a good man," she told Barrasso. "I love you. And I’d like to take you another 100 years. I love you, Daddy.”
After some applause from the crowd died down, Barrasso didn't miss a beat in responding to his daughter's kind words about him. “She’s only saying that because it’s true,” he said.
According to the Veterans Administration, Massachusetts still had some 25,000 living World War II veterans in 2015, but those numbers are quickly declining.