A Man and a Ring
This is one of those articles
that you just shake your head at and say, "The greatest generation, indeed!"And for the former football star and war hero, it's been that way since the beginning. At 6, he suffered third-degree burns on 80% of his body when a trash incinerator toppled onto him.
[Mario] Tonelli's immigrant father, Celi, a former quarry laborer in northern Italy, stonewalled a doctor's notion that his son might never walk again. He fastened four wheels to a door and taught his first U.S.-born offspring how to move about using his arms. Within months Tonelli was back on his feet, and by 1935 he was the pride of Chicago's prestigious DePaul Academy, a prep standout in football, basketball and track.
Goes on to glory at Notre Dame, including a key run and touchdown to defeat USC. Gets into the army and is caught in the Phillipines for the Bataan Death March. A Japanese soldier steals his school ring, but moments later an officer gives it back:The act left Tonelli speechless. "I was educated in America," the officer explained. "At the University of Southern California. I know a little about the famous Notre Dame football team. In fact, I watched you beat USC in 1937. I know how much this ring means to you, so I wanted to get it back to you."
Just a terrific read.
Hat Tip: John Ruberry