Military Veterans Appreciation Month: Bridgeport Marine, 84, says serving was the ‘honor of a lifetime’

An 84-year-old Bridgeport veteran spoke to News 12’s Frank Recchia during Military Veterans Appreciation Month about his experience in the US Marine Corps.
Don Pavia joined the US Marine Corps when he was just 17. He says it was the honor of a lifetime to serve and the lessons he learned helped guide his path in life during the decades that followed.
Pavia says he believes schools need to do more to teach students about the importance of honoring veterans.
"They don't teach children what America is or what the military is,” he said. "We need more education in schools about veterans."
Pavia is a member of the Marine Corps League, a congressionally charted veterans’ organization whose mission is to perpetuate the tradition and spirit of the corps.
“I’m pushing every week to get more members in our organization,” he said. "I enjoy it immensely. I'm pretty sure this is going to be my last year because things are creeping up on me and I'm not feeling that great. So, I'm just hoping we get more people to join the Marine Corps League, the VFW, Port 5. We need members."
Pavia took part in the Port 5 Naval Veterans Car show on Sunday at the Boothe Memorial Park in Stratford. During the event, Pavia and his fellow veterans presented an original photo of the flag raising in Iwo Jima during WWII, complete with actual sand from the island where thousands of Marines died.
"Just think about that. If they didn't do that, we wouldn't be here. Thank God for the Marines and all the other branches of service,” he said.