By Anne W. Semmes
It was in 1902 that the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) purchased Greenwich’s historic Putnam Cottage and through the years the DAR has honored America’s veterans. At the end of WWI, it even turned the Cottage into a convalescent guest house for wounded veterans. But last Saturday noon Korean War veteran Tony Marzullo was in good form at age 94 to receive the 2023 certificate of Award for his “Outstanding Service to Veterans” given by the Putnam Hill chapter of the DAR.
The date on Marzullo’s Certificate is November 11 that marks not only Veteran’s Day but what it was previously called as Armistice Day, so named by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919, on the day WWI ended, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of November, with President Eisenhower in 1954 changing the day to Veterans Day to honor veterans of all America’s wars.
Marzullo stood before the DAR Putnam Hill Chapter members wearing his veteran’s cap, and sporting three medals on his vest: the State of Connecticut medal for serving in a war, a German Occupation Medal, and the National Defense Medal.
“Tony is a Korean War veteran who served in Germany towards the end of the War, introduced Kathleen Hoffer, Chapter Regent. “He is one of the original charter members of the Cos Cob VFW Post 10112. He has had many positions in the Post over many years, tending to the needs of veterans. He is also a member of the Greenwich Tree Conservancy, and the Dahlia Society where he has often won awards for his flowers.”
Hoffer identified another veteran present, Bill Cameron, having won last year’s Outstanding Veteran Award for his service in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, as having referred Marzullo for consideration of this year’s award. [It was indeed Marzullo’s recommendation that Cameron be presented with the DAR award.]
“So, Tony,” said Hoffer, “tell us in your own words your story.”
“So, I graduated from Cos Cob School in 1944,” Marzullo began, “I graduated from Greenwich High School, and attended the University of Connecticut.” Drafted in January of 1952 he was directed to Fort Devens, MA where he underwent testing. “I had all these chemistry courses and physics courses and math courses.” He ended up with “all high scores” and was qualified to go to Officer Candidate School. “And they put me in medics,” he told, “So I went down to Fort Pickett, Virginia, and went through all of the basic medical training.”
Graduating from Officer Candidate School, Second Lieutenant Marzullo would run an infantry platoon of 27 men, and four squads. Marzullo was then faced with needing to reenlist for another three more years… “So, they gave me a chance to resign. The Korean War was just about over [in 1953]. So, they sent me over to Germany with the 12th Infantry Regiment, in Gelnhausen, Germany.” Marzullo would wind up becoming a pharmacist “because of my chemistry background. And I was a pharmacist for 11 months. And that’s what I did in the military.”
Returning home, a friend asked Marzullo if he’d like to join the Veterans of Foreign Wars? “So I became a member, and all of those members were from World War II and a handful of Korean folks like us. So, we paraded, and we had ceremonies. And they’re all my relations and friends. Bill Cameron’s ’s wife Mary is my cousin. Eventually, I was elected service officer and was into the benefits and all the rights that the veterans should have, the insurance policies, the education policies, those for health and the VA hospital.” And Marzullo became chair of those dinners and chair of the parades, and chair of the membership list. And then he was working with the Cos Cob School. “And I’m in charge of the VFW Park on Strickland Road,” he added, “And the boys at the Montgomery Pinetum (Parks and Rec.) cut the grass, weed, whack, and really make it clean.”
“Tony always has veterans in his thoughts and his actions,” shared his cousin Mary Cameron, “and he’s always willing to pitch in to help, whether it’s a clothing drive that they just completed at Cos Cob School which is always successful, because Tony does so much work for veterans. It’s wonderful,” she said pointing to his DAR certificate of Award, “It’s a very well-deserved honor.”