As the nation pauses to honor the brave men and women who selflessly served the country, Friday was extra special and long overdue for a veteran from Windsor.
Bruce Putinas left Windsor High School during his senior year to join the Navy.
"I joined in 1959," Putinas said. “Everybody was joining up to go to Vietnam. So I just fell in place, it was time to go.”
He was just a few months shy of graduating.
Those who know him said it always bothered him that he never got his diploma.
Friday, after nearly six decades, that moment finally came.
Putinas was presented with a diploma during a special ceremony in front of 300 students.
“It’s been a long time coming," he said. "It’s like a missing piece of the puzzle and I feel good about it.”
On a day when many districts close, Windsor schools are open and use it as a teaching opportunity.
During the ceremony, the students witnessed a powerful lesson in what it means to sacrifice.
“I think today was a good illustration of something our kids should aspire to achieve in terms of determination, commitment," said principal Uyi Osunde.
It was also a way to show thanks to the many men and women who pushed their lives aside to put their lives on the line to protect the country.
"It takes a long time to get a diploma," Putinas said. "God bless you all and God bless America."
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