I was in the town of Lake George Aug. 27 and noticed an older man in a wheelchair wearing a baseball cap with “NORMANDY” embroidered across the front.  I asked if he were indeed a Normandy Invasion veteran, and sure enough he was!  I stood in awe, and told him I would like to salute him, which, standing at attention, I did.

Stuart Gang of Albany, left, with Normandy veteran Julius Boreali, center. Photo by Marjorie Gang

We chatted and he told me he was in the Coast Guard and joined D-Day on the second day.  His mission was to take the wounded soldiers off the beach.  He now happily lives in Schenectady.

We chatted a while.  Even though I felt I was in the presence of greatness, I asked if I could tell him a joke.  He welcomed my offer:

An elderly man was visiting France, and didn’t have his passport ready when he reached passport control.  The immigration officer asked him, “Have you visited France before?”

“Yes,” replied the old man.

Sarcastically the French official said, “Well surely you should know to have your passport ready when you visit France,” to which he answered, “I didn’t have to show it last time.”
“Impossible!!” bellowed the official.
The old man looks the official straight in the eye and says, “Last time, when I landed on D Day in 1944, I couldn’t find a single Frenchman to show it to.”
He was very amused by that joke and laughed sincerely.  Amazingly, he had never heard it before.
One hundred year-old Julius Boreali enjoyed a laugh today.  I felt special having been the one to deliver it.  It is because of him and men and women like him that I told that joke in English rather than German.
God bless Mr. Boreali.