MIAMI (CBSMiami) — It was a special welcome for a World War II Veteran traveling to Pittsburgh from Fort Lauderdale to celebrate his 97th birthday!
The hustle and bustle of the busy Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport came to a standstill for a ceremony to recognize Sgt. Mitchel Chockla.
Sgt. Chockla served under general Patton in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. He earned a Purple Heart, two Bronze Starts, Combat Infantry Badge and six Battle Stars for his service but he doesn’t consider himself a hero.
“I’m no hero. Heroes are still over there,” said Sgt. Chockla. “The ones who gave it all, who gave all their lives are still buried over there in cemeteries.”
Sgt. Chockla’s five brothers also served in World War II at the same time. They all survived the war but Sgt. Chockla is the only living member among the brothers today.
He vividly remembers running into his brother while serving in Sicily.
“My buddy says, ‘Somebody’s yelling your name.’ And I looked around and coming through the crowd, working their way through were three sailors and one of them was my kid brother, Bill. I didn’t even know he was over there.”
Sgt. Chockla says the ceremony brought back a lot of memories making this day extra special.
“I’m so happy to be able to be here and not to enjoy but see that people haven’t forgotten,” he said.