American spirit resides in Bristol veterans



Though the morning was brisk, it wasn't nearly as cold as South Korea.

Dozens of war veterans, local and state officials, huddled under a heated tent on the front lawn of the Rhode Island Veteran's Home Monday, to commemorate Veterans Day. The celebration payed special homage to those who fought in the Korean War. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the armistice, which declared the war over on July 27, 1953.

"It definitely cold, much colder there," remarked Lynn Ruggieri, the event's keynote speaker. Ms. Ruggieri traveled to South Korea a few years ago, taking part in the Korean War Veterans Revisit Korea Program. She went in place of her dad, Joseph Ruggieri, who served in the Korean War and died in 2006.

"Up until his death, I had no idea he was ever in the military," she told the crowd. "This was my opportunity to learn all about Korea, and what happened."

Slide after slide, Ms. Ruggieri told of the Koreans' thankful nature and gratitude toward Americans. The once war-ravaged city of Incheon now stands as a mecca port for international trade.

"Every where I went, I saw 16 flags," she said, "representative of the 16 countries that helped South Korea."

America's involvement in the Korean War started just after North Korean forces invaded Seoul on June 25, 1950. The United States provided 88-percent of the war's soldiers.

Ms. Ruggieri also visited the famed DMZ - the de-militarized border that splits North and South Korean in half, along the 38th parallel.

"It was an incredible experience," she said. "There are buildings that go across the line, and you can see the line go through the building; right down to the room, over the table. It was intense.

"You could cut the tension with a knife."

Minutelli Conference Room

In honor of his hard work and commitment to veterans, the Bristol Veterans Council worked to dedicate a conference room in Sassio Michael Minutelli's name. The declaration took place January 12, 2012, but the room wasn't set up with his memorabilia yet.

On Monday, the room was unveiled, complete with photos of Mr. Minutelli's time in service, scrapbooks with personal military documents and his American flag. The flag was flown on the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 20 during the Pacific War.

Mr. Minutelli served in the navy during World War II and the Korean War. He worked on PT Boat 254, which was taken out of service in 1945.

Mr. Minutelli, a lifelong Bristol resident, died July 14, 2012.






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