(WSYR-TV) — Today, June 14, 2022, is Flag Day. Nearly 250 years ago, the first American flag was flown and the holiday can take on a special meaning for each individual person. 

Stobnicke shows Dan Cummings some of his war time memorabilia during a 2020 interview.

For Paul Stobnicke, a World War II Veteran turned Central New York physician, the red, white and blue takes on an importance of great value. 

“(The flag means to me) what this country means to me. It means what the people in this country mean to me. It is indicative of the kind of country we have – filled with loving, caring, helpful people to one another. People that go out of their way to offer help to anyone that needs it.  

If everyone in this country knew what it stands for, then it would go a long way to rid us of further wars and conflicts,” Stobnicke shared.

“I love the flag. I love this country. I love the people in this country. I love the patients that I have taken care of. I love my friends here at Towne Center. I have lived a life full of blessings because of what this country means through this flag.” 

Paul Stobnicke

Stobnicke spoke those eloquent words to the video makers Joe Messineo and Dick Calagiovanni back in 2020. He also spoke with NewsChannel 9’s Dan Cummings for his “Veteran’s Voices” special that same year. 

Earlier this month, on June 5, Stobnicke passed away at the age of 98. He left behind a life fully lived of service, both on the battlefield and in the doctor’s office. The Oswego native was inspired to join the armed forces at the age of 17 when hearing the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor on the radio. 

“I immediately told mom that’s something I’ve got to do. I’ve got to join the Air Force.”

Paul Stobnicke to NewsChannel 9 in 2020. 

That compulsion led to Stobnicke flying 91 missions in the service. The plane he flew was dubbed “Sweet Sybil” after his wife. It is an accomplishment that was not lost on Paul, but he also came to the conclusion that his story was not like others. 

“I think I would like people to realize the fullness of my gratitude (to) those veterans like myself.  Grateful not only for surviving the war, but grateful for all the people who had a part in our eventually surviving the war and coming to victory,” Stobnicke said. 

In the video player below, you can watch Dan Cummings’ full story on Paul Stobnicke that aired in November of 2020. 

Stobnicke sat down with Dan Cummings for an interview in 2020.

After the war, Paul came home to CNY with his new wife Sybil and graduated Cum Laude from Syracuse University, and then received his medical degree from Upstate College of Medicine. He practiced medicine for nearly 50 years before retiring in 2002, according to his obituary. 

His wife of 70 years passed away in 2016, which led to Paul living in the Towne Center Retirement Community. In 2021, Stobnicke was honored by Senator John Mannion by getting inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame. 

If you would like to honor Veterans like Paul Stobnicke on this Flag Day, the family said you can make a donation to the “Life House at in My Father’s Kitchen,” a life changing ministry for women or to the Immaculate Conception Church in Fayetteville.