'We Are All New Yorkers'
A Week Later, Attacks Still Hitting Home
By Steve Jusseaume
Hampton Union, Tuesday, September 18, 2001
HAMPTON — Seeking to share in some small way their shock, sadness and outrage at the tragic events that occurred Tuesday last in New York City and elsewhere, more than 300 people gathered at Marelli Square on Friday evening for a candlelight vigil, organized via e- mails that began circulating earlier that day.
During a short impromptu ceremony at what serves as Hampton's town square, and elegant in its simplicity, several residents shared their grief, including Hampton Town Manager James Barrington, who helped organize the service.
"We began getting these e- mails today, asking people to light a candle at 7 p.m. I called (Marelli Square committee Chairman) Bob LaBonte and he agreed that it might he good to gather at Marelli Square. So we started to get the word out this afternoon," said Barrington, as he passed out candles to those arriving downtown just before 7 o'clock.
"This is such a sad occasion, but also a joyous occasion, that we can pull together as a people," Barrington said in his brief remarks. "This offers us an opportunity to examine how fragile life is, it is a good time to think about all that we have, what this country means not only to us but to the rest of the world. We are the pride of the world, the model for other countries. It is important for us to pull together at this time."
People expressed different reasons for attending the ceremony, but a common thread ran through all. "I'm here just to pray for the families and the victims," said Tamara Green, who attended with her 3-year-old daughter Emily.
"Just to remember the people who died," offered Krista Lee, 14.
"I guess out of respect for the families, the workers, and all the people who died," said Jim Hunt, a retired Hampton fire- fighter.
At 7 p.m., as the setting sun illuminated the underside of layers of dark clouds to the west in pink, those gathered at the square began lighting their candles.
Along with residents and visitors, the Hampton Fire Department made its presence known.
Hampton Beach Fire Rescue 3, Hampton Engine 4, and Hampton Fire Rescue 2 had been driven downtown, and several firefighters took part in the ceremonies, including local union President Justin Cutting.
"Our sympathy goes out to all the firefighters. the EMS and police as well as all the others who died," Cutting said, describing the mood at the Hampton fire house as somber.
"We are all in awe of what happened. Worcester two years ago was a tragedy, but New York City this week is something that none of us can even fathom," Cutting said.
Police officers kept an eye on traffic along Lafayette Road, including Tom Linane, the resource officer at Hampton Academy Junior High School, who wore a black strip over his badge.
Virtually the entire force is wearing black bands, he said. "Whenever we learn that a fellow officer has gone down, we wear the black bands."
After the assembly sang "God Bless America," and several spoke about their grief, including Bill Hayes, who likened the events of the week to 1963 and a speech President John F. Kennedy made in Germany.
"I recall John F. Kennedy in West Berlin making a speech where he said 'Ich bin ein Berliner (I am a Berliner)'. I think this week we are all New Yorkers," Hayes said.
"We Are America"
By Sharon Fontaine
Hampton, New Hampshire
September 14, 2001
[On Friday evening, September 14, 2001, a candlelight vigil was held at Marelli Park. Many people came forward to share their thoughts on the Terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001. One of these persons was Sharon Fontaine, who recited her original poem "We Are America" which is included below.]
"We Are America"We are America,
We are the strong,
I awoke this morning
Amongst the dawn.
We will stand tall
Against the fight,
To keep our freedom
Through day and night.
This land of liberty
Heroes are we all,
What God has given us?
We will not let fall.
Against the attack
And heal the wounds of day,
In this wrath we gave our lives,
It is here that we will stay.
In the pursuit of hopefulness
Freedom will endure,
Because we are America
The land we will secure.
Now we must carry on
As they flew through the air
It came over me watchful
That our flag was still here.
As we go forth
And heal with each new day,
Democracy will reign
To light America's way.
God has blessed us
As I glance
In the face of liberty.
Our flag will fly forever
As we remain united,
All the tears I cry
Of all things I am reminded,
A prayer of peace
For those lost and survived
America endured for all time
The state of mind revisited.
Forever in our minds and hearts
We remember the men and woman
Of the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon
Who gave their lives for their country.
God Bless America
By Irving Berlin
"While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer:
God Bless America.
Land that I love
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America
My home sweet home."