Services for Nicholas Oresko, who was the oldest living Medal of Honor winner until he passed away last Friday, went on in the Anna Maria Ciccone Theater on the Bergen Community College campus Thursday.
Oresko was laid to rest just down the street in George Washington Memorial Park.
Hundreds were in attendance. From military personnel, police and fire departments to local politicians and even a few other Medal of Honor winners, all in attendance wanted to show their respects.
On January 23, 1945, at 28 years of age, Oresko found himself as the leader of his platoon due to casualties. After noticing heavy fire from a machine gun in a bunker, Oresko decided to act. The New Jersey native threw a grenade into the bunker, took out the machine gun, rushed forward and a killed a number of German troops who survived the blast.
After approaching the bunker and finishing off the surviving troops, another machine gun fired at Oresko and struck him in the hip. Oresko managed to move forward and took out a second bunker with another grenade and his rifle.
On Oct. 30, 1945, Oresko was standing in front of President Harry Truman to receive his Medal of Honor.
His peers remember Oresko fondly. One of which called him the Fred Astire of the Medal of Honor winners. Oresko may no longer be with us, but his story will undoubtedly live on.