In Memoriam: Murray L. Smith

Memorial Street Signs


In observance of every Memorial Day, Hampton Veterans of Foreign Wars gave the supreme sacrifice in defense of their country, in WORLD WAR II, KOREA and VIETNAM and streets, bridges, parks & playgrounds in Hampton, were named in their honor.

Murray L. Smith
Murray L. Smith -- SMITH AVENUE

In Memory of Murray L. Smith -- Vietnam

Murray Lawrence Smith was born on May 23, 1933 and joined the Armed Forces while in Hampton Beach, NH.

He served in the Air Force. In 12 years of service, he attained the rank of MAJ/04. He began a tour of duty on January 24, 1967.

On December 21, 1967, at the age of 34, Murray Lawrence Smith perished in the service of our country in South Vietnam, Phong Dinh.

You can find Murray Lawrence Smith honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Panel 32E, Row 40.

Click photo to view a larger photo

Murray L. Smith on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C.
[Photo by Bill Teschek 2004]

Honors Overdue For Hampton Veterans

By Liz Premo, Atlantic News Staff Writer

Atlantic News, Friday, May 5, 2006

[The following article is courtesy of the Atlantic News]

Memorial street signs honor Hampton Veterans who gave the supreme sacrifice in defense of their country. Each year these signs are fitted with new American flags like the one Alexa LaMontagne places at Smith Avenue, named for her grandfather, Air Force Major Murray L. Smith. American Legion Post #35 is seeking to honor two more of its own, see story below.
[Atlantic News Photo by Liz Premo]

HAMPTON -- Three members of Hamptons American Legion Post #35 went before the board of selectmen Monday night seeking what they called a "long overdue" honor for two of the town's Veterans who were killed in action during the Vietnam War.

Post #35 Commander Ralph Fatello, Chaplain John Holman and Col. Paul Lessard brought to the board's attention how Army 1st Lt. Bruce W. Brown and Army SP4 Mark L. Brown (no relation) have not yet had anything in town named in their honor.

Seventeen Hampton Veterans who gave their lives in service to their country in World War II, Korea and Vietnam have been memorialized around town with individual streets, a bridge, and a playground named after them.

After waiting 38 and 37 years for both Bruce and Mark Brown to be given the same honor, said Fatello, "I think it's time we did something."

Lessard explained how he and Holman spearheaded the street sign project 15 years ago; the names of the fallen are on bronze plaques under which an American flag is secured to the sign post. The bridge that spans Hampton Harbor was named after a WWII Veteran; a children's playground on Reddington Lane is named for a Marine killed in Vietnam.

It was pointed out that it took 35 years after that particular Marine died in combat for him to be honored — a wait that Fatello doesn't want to see repeated should the town happen to lose another military hero.

"We have active Hampton residents serving in a combat zone. God forbid anything happen to them — I'd hate to wait 35 years to have something done."

The board appeared to agree, and in the exchange that followed, several possible options were discussed.

Lessard asked if the recently-modified Exeter Road bridge was under the jurisdiction of the state, while Selectman Ben Moore asked if Brown Avenue at the beach was named after anyone in particular. Selectman Bill Lally noted the walkway by the Taylor River on the Hurd Farm property might possibly lend itself to an honorary name.

Town Manager James Barrington suggested the new rescue pier down at the harbor, and even the rescue boat itself was mentioned as a possibility. Fatello noted that the playground at Marston School was not named, and that the flagpole area on the fields at Winnacunnet High School may also be an option.

As the discussion drew to its conclusion, Selectman Chairman Virginia Bridle-Russell said the board would take the ideas into consideration and talk about them at next Monday night's meeting.

Lally thanked Fatello, Holman and Lessard for bringing the matter to the board's attention. "It's really important," he said.