WWII veterans invited to book signing Sunday in Hudson

  • “The Rifle,” by Andrew Biggio Contributed photo

Staff report
Published: 7/30/2021 5:12:27 PM
Modified: 7/30/2021 5:12:32 PM

HUDSON — On Sunday, Aug. 1, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the American Heritage Museum, 568 Main St., Hudson, over 60 World War II Veterans will join Andy Biggio, author of “The Rifle,” for a book signing and meet-and-greet.

Athol resident and World War II Veteran Bill Purple will be one of the 60-plus WWII Veterans expected to attend, according to a press release.

In what might be one of the last large WWII Veteran reunions, more than 60 veterans between the ages of 95 to 105 years old who fought in France, Japan, Germany, Holland and Italy theatres of World War II — while also participating in some of the fiercest battles like Battle of the Bulge, Iwo Jima, D-Day, etc. — are slated to attend the book signing of “The Rifle.” Most of them were featured in his book.

East Boston native and now-Winthrop resident Andy Biggio said he embarked on a mission to find out more about his great uncle’s death on the hills of an Italian hillside while serving in WWII, and the journey led him across the country visiting World War II Veterans in their home to learn more about their own personal experiences while also trying to find someone who might have served with his great uncle, whom Andrew was named after. During his visits, Andrew would have Veterans sign an M1 Garand, which was the standard U.S. service rifle during WWII.

Biggio will be signing copies of the book, and guests will have a chance to engage and interact with the WWII Veterans, sharing as much of their experiences as they feel like sharing. Fifteen French Legion of Honor Medals will also be presented as well for their service liberating Europe as well.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase on-site for $40 which Biggio will sign and inscribe. Those that bring their own copy of “The Rifle” to sign will cost $20 for signing and inscribing.

https://www.americanheritagemuseum.org

About ‘The Rifle’

“The Rifle” is the story of a hero’s journey of a 28-year-old U.S. Marine, Andrew Biggio, who returned home from combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, full of questions about the price of war. He found answers from those who survived the costliest war of all — WWII veterans.

It began when Biggio bought a 1945 M1 Garand Rifle, the most common rifle used in WWII, to honor his great uncle, a U.S. Army soldier who died on the hills of the Italian countryside. When Biggio showed the gun to his neighbor, WWII veteran Corporal Joseph Drago, it unlocked memories Drago had kept unspoken for 50 years. On the spur of the moment, Biggio asked Drago to sign the rifle. Thus began this Marine’s mission to find as many WWII veterans as he could, get their signatures on the rifle, and document their stories.

For two years, Biggio traveled across the country to interview America’s last-living WWII veterans. Each time he put the M1 Garand Rifle in their hands, their eyes lit up with memories triggered by holding the weapon that had been with them every step of the war. With each visit and every story told to Biggio, the veterans signed their names to the rifle. 96 signatures now cover that rifle, each a reminder of the price of war and the courage of our soldiers.


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