West Hartford

Air Force Vet and Longtime West Hartford Resident Turns 100

"'I did it my way,'" said 100-year-old Norman Bramley when asked the secret to long life.

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On Friday, it was a full-circle moment for Norman Bramley. 

The U.S. Air Force veteran graduated in 1940 from Hall High School, which is now West Hartford Town Hall. It's where he celebrated his 100th birthday Friday.

"Time goes by fast, you don't even realize it," said Bramley. 

Bramley served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II for five years. He is the last surviving member of his family, but with the help of the Twilight Wish Foundation of Connecticut, his milestone birthday didn't go unnoticed. 

"One of his neighbors actually put in for the wish because they felt like it should be something that is celebrated, and he doesn't have too many friends or family that are left. He's outlived a lot of them," said Andrea Hoisl, Director of the Connecticut Chapter of the Twighlight Wish Foundation.

The community came together, donating a birthday cake. Local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts made 100 birthday cards. Bramley was gifted a hand-made quilt made with the colors of the American flag, and West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor presented a town proclamation. 

"Whereas Norman Bramley has lived during the most eventful century of the world's history and has been a force for good," said Mayor Cantor.

"It feels really cool. He's what the Boy Scouts are trying to be. He's our role model essentially," said Eagle Scout Jack Lovejoy. 

Members of Hall High School's jazz band volunteered to play. One thing about Bramley, he is a big fan of music. When asked the secret to a long life, he quoted his favorite singer, Frank Sinatra.

"I stood tall, I did it all, I did it my way. I love that song because it spells out my whole life," said Bramley.

The Air Force vet's real birthday is August 17, 1922, but it didn't stop the town from honoring his service and centennial celebration.

"I'm just happy to be the way I am. Living the way I am. I live each day like it's the first day of the rest of my life," said Bramley.

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