by Tom Corwin
He fondly recalls his childhood in Italy but ask Dante Antonacci the lessons of his life as he approaches his 100th birthday and he has a simple answer: "I lucked in, becoming an American," he said. The World War II veteran who now lives at Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home will celebrate his birthday Friday with a party and family reunion. He was stationed in the Mariana Islands when the Enola Gay took off on from there this day 70 years ago to drop the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
"We knew there was something big happening on the island of Tinian," Antonacci said, where the flight was launched. "We didn't know what it was." That was followed by the bombing of Nagasaki three days later, and Japan surrendered within a week.