Nick Stozic Croatian-American Vet Honored
The following story appeared in today's Concinnatti Post. John Kraljic
Irish to honor former POW
He is featured in 2004 parade
Post staff report
For most of the year Nick Stozic is of Croatian descent, but for St.
Patrick's Day this year the 99-year-old former POW will be a wee bit
Stozic, who spent part of World War II as a prisoner of war in a German
camp, has agreed to be the honorary grand marshal of the annual St.
Patrick's Day parade in Cincinnati.
"Yeah, my nephew, Davey, talked me into it," said Stozic, who has lived
in Clermont County since he got out of the service.
That nephew, David Maher, is grand marshal of the March 14 parade, which
over the past 37 years has become one of the largest Irish cultural
celebrations in the region.
The parade's Hometown Heroes theme this year honors those who have
served the country, said parade spokesman Dave Lane.
With the death of U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina last year,
Stozic is believed to be the oldest living veteran of the Army's 82nd
Stozic "represents the spirit of service and stands as a positive
example of the sacrifices that have been made," said Lane.
Stozic joined the Army after leaving home at age 16 and lying about his
age so he could enlist in the Army.
He was assigned to the 82nd Airborne as a glider pilot.
When he was shot down over Holland, Stozic was hit in the leg by enemy
gunfire and captured by enemy troops.
He spent his captivity in a German concentration camp.
"It happened seven months before the end of the war," he said earlier
this week. "I thought I had it in the bag."
Stozic was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart and eventually
retired with the rank of warrant officer after a 25-year career.
The local St. Patrick's parade began in 1967 when the local chapter of
the Ancient Order of Hibernians, a group that promotes Irish culture,
staged a loosely organized religious procession downtown.
The event was later changed to Sundays because of it size and evolved
into a full-fledged parade with floats, step-dancers, pipers, marching
bands and Irish families.
This year's parade will begin at 1 p.m. at Eighth and Reedy streets,
just east of downtown.
To learn more or to participate, call the parade committee at (513)
922-2230 or visit www.cincinnatisaintpatrickparade.netfirms.com.