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The honor of ringing the bell in Bristol for Veterans Day

A 98-year-old Iwo Jima survivor was front and center at the ceremony.

BRISTOL, Conn. — A Veterans Day tradition continued at the American Legion Post 2 in Bristol where veterans from all branches of service were honored and remembered.

Front and center at the ceremony was Joe Caminiti, a 98-year-old great-grandfather who served in the Marine Corps and is an Iwo Jima survivor.

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Caminiti, from Bristol, was asked to perform the honor of ringing the USS Kidd Ship Bell as a tribute to veterans past, present, and future.

“It’s an honor, it’s a big honor,” Caminiti said before he was called up for the ceremony.

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Dave Carello, an Army veteran and retired Bristol police officer served as the master of ceremonies for the Veterans Day event.

“This is in my heart,” said Carello, who has a family history of military service. “Honor your veterans, we’re the ones that sacrificed to keep and maintain the freedoms that this country has.”

RELATED: New Haven bridge to be lit red, white and blue for Veterans Day

The past month in Bristol has been a tragic one – the town has endured the deaths of two of its beloved police officers; Veterans Day offered a chance to embrace more hometown heroes.

John Phelan, 42, a retired Sgt. First Class in the U.S. Army Special Forces said, “Today is a happy day, today is a humbling day.”

Phelan, who also is a four-time Bronze Star recipient (one for Valor) added, “Our community still loves us, and our country loves us, and this is a great day for all who served.”

Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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