BRISTOL BOROUGH >> As the eyes of the world fell upon Normandy and the brave men who stormed the beaches on D-Day, Bristol Borough honored its own local heroes who were part of the invasion force 75 years ago.
During a special meeting on June 10, the council joined state and county leaders in recognizing veterans Joseph D’Emedio and Arthur Cammarota for helping to turn the tide of World War II against Adolph Hitler and the German war machine.
Bill Pezza, the chairman of Raising the Bar, set the tone for the special evening by remembering the men and boys who launched the greatest invasion in history on June 6, 1944.
“They crossed the dangerous, wind-swept English Channel, stormed the heavily-fortified beaches of Normandy and established a beachhead so others could follow and begin the task of ending the horrific obscenity of Nazi domination of Europe,” he said.
“Most were just boys - 18, 19, 20 - not far removed from their high school classrooms and about to be thrust into the Earth’s equivalent of hell,” said Pezza.
“We’re blessed to have two of them with us and fortunate to be able to convey our gratitude to everyone who participated in America’s finest hour by honoring these two men tonight” who he called “quiet heroes who simply did the job they were called to do.”
Councilman Greg Pezza read a proclamation recognizing the 75th anniversary of D-Day and commending the service of Cammorota who participated in the invasion.
Cammorota served as a member of the 666th Ordinance Ammunition Company from May 1943 to Dec. 1945, taking part in the following campaigns: Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, the Battle of the Bulge and Central Europe. For his service, he was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, the European-African Campaign Medal, five bronze stars, the World War II Victory Medal and the Medal of the Battle of Normandy.
“At 1 a.m. on June 6, 1944, he boarded a landing craft, crossed the English Channel and landed on Utah Beach,” said Pezza. “From there, he participated in the advance across Western Europe as the Germans retreated.”
Councilman Lou Quattrocchi presented the second proclamation to D’Emedio who served as a Navy seaman from April 1, 1943 to November 11, 1945. On D-Day, D’Emedio manned one of the landing crafts that transported the troops from the large vessels to the beaches of Normandy.
“Without those landing craft, the Normandy invasion would not have been the success that it was,” said Quattrocchi.
Both men received a standing ovation from the capacity crowd that spilled out into the hallway.
The council also honored volunteer firefighters Bill Ferguson and Ron DeAngelis for 50 years each of active volunteer service to the borough.
Mayor Joseph Saxton, emergency management coordinator Merle Winslow and Councilwoman Lorraine Cullen joined in honoring the two men who together have given a century of service to the town.
“These are two of Bristol’s best,” said Winslow. “They are great guys. They are always there. They know the true meaning of the word volunteer.”
Ferguson began volunteering for the borough in the 1960s putting to use his knowledge of radio equipment and electronics from his service in the US Armed Forces.
Winslow said Ferguson was the one who had the idea back in 1972 of locating the town’s emergency communications radio equipment on the roof of the Grundy Tower, where it still is today. He’s also done volunteer radio repair work over the years for the borough’s police department, fire, public works and water and sewer departments. He joined Goodwill Hose Co. in 1966 and is now a life member with 53 years of service.
DeAngelis joined Bristol Consolidated as a junior member in 1968 and rose through the ranks from lieutenant to captain and then to Chief. He is currently a battalion leader at Consolidated where he has been a stable force for the company. He has also served for the past 16 years as the borough’s deputy coordinator for emergency management.
Mayor Saxton joined Councilwoman Cullen in presenting both men with certificates of recognition honoring their years of service to the borough.
The D-Day veterans and the firefighters were also recognized with proclamations and citations from State Rep. John Galloway and Bucks County Commissioner Rob Loughery.
The men also received citations and flags from U.S. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick and State Senator Robert Tomlinson who were unable to attend, but who sent representatives to relay their congratulations.