My uncle Anthony Defeo survived the D-Day invasion mostly by luck. His Higgins boat landed on a Normandy beach near a decoy minefield and members of his battalion who made it to the shore were able to climb up the beach into German-occupied territory.

Despite having an Italian immigrant mother — my Nana — who was frequently told by nativist Americans to “go back to where you came from”, Uncle Anthony became a decorated war hero. His contributions helped bring an end to the war and the beginning of Western Europe’s alliance with North America in building a framework for long-term global peace.

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