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Knoxville WWII veteran finds better life in America

Dario Antonucci grew up in Italy under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. His family didn’t have much, but they hoped for a better life in America.
A photo of the World War 2 veteran from his time of service from 1942 to 1946.
A photo of the World War 2 veteran from his time of service from 1942 to 1946.(WVLT)
Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 7:00 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Dario Antonucci grew up in Italy under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. His family didn’t have much, but they hoped for a better life in America. After multiple attempts to get there, the Antonucci family finally achieved that goal.

Antonucci, now 96, lives in Morning Pointe in Knoxville. He said fighting for America was the highest possible honor, and that a day like Veterans Day means the world to him.

It was 1942 when the 18-year-old Antonucci convinced his high school to let him double up on classes to finish early so he could enlist in the military as soon as possible. He finished his education in just two years and enlisted just days after completing his exams.

Antonucci said, “I heard that they needed troops. I was probably one of the first ones to volunteer. To defend what I had gained... freedom. We have liberty and opportunity to do whatever we wanted to do."

The WWII veteran said coming from Italy to America was “like going from hell to heaven." Antonucci trained to be a radio aircraft controller with the US Army Air Corps but also worked several other jobs in his service from 1942 to 1946.

In his room at Morning Pointe, he keeps an American flag on a lamp that the facilities staff said he’s had there since the day he moved in.

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