Rifle in hand, soldier will march with his daughter

A battle-hardened army sergeant back home after a 13-month stint running supply trucks to the front lines in Afghanistan is marching in Canarsie’s Memorial Day Parade — with a rifle in one hand and his daughter’s hand in the other.

“He will march wearing his desert fatigues and carrying his rifle,” said Dishona DiSilva, whose 30-year-old husband, Danny, has also served two combat tours in Iraq. “I told him it’s important to march with his daughter so she can see why her father has been away.”

The couple decided that the middle of their three daughters, Danielle, 9, who was born while he was overseas, will march with her father. Their other daughters are 10 and three.

The E. 94th Street resident is doing it to make sure everyone know what he’s fighting for.

“Freedom is not free,” says Deshona. “My husband does this so one day our three young girls might not have to do it.”

DiSilva enlisted in the army shortly after 9-11 and rose to the rank of staff sergeant. He is currently undergoing training in Virginia.

On his last assignment in Afghanistan, he saw plenty of action.

“His captain tells all the soldiers in the platoon that if they want to stay alive, stay with Staff Sgt. DiSilva,” his wife said.

Sgt. DiSilva has received medals for distinguished army achievement, distinguished service and expeditionary service in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He recently re-enlisted for another eight years and is currently stationed in Virginia, but will take a short leave to come home for the parade.

Dishona, who is vice president of the PTA at PS 115, where their daughters go to school, added that its fitting that Danny uses the Memorial Day Parade to shine on light on soldiers currently serving,

“There are still a lot of soldiers over there fighting a war,” she said. “And Afghanistan is turning out to be a little harder than Iraq.”

The Canarsie Memorial Day Parade begins at 10:30 am in front of the Flatlands Avenue Holy Family Church on Rockaway Parkway and East 99th Street. It will head up to Avenue M, turn right on East 92nd Street, head down to Avenue J, turn left on Remsen Avenue, head to Conkin Street before ending back at the Church, where refreshments will be served.

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