By Nick B. Reid
Hampton Union, September 12, 2013
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Master Sgt. William Paulino, USMC, places a wreath at a
monument dedicated to New Hampshire soldiers who lost
their lives in the Global War on Terrorism. Five more
names were added this year. [Ioanna Raptis photo]
HAMPTON — The solemn bell acknowledging the deaths of New Hampshire troops who fought terrorism rang five more times this year, as more names were added to Hampton's Global War on Terrorism Memorial Monument.
A memorial ceremony was held Wednesday, the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Gov. Maggie Hassan, National Cmdr. Dan Dellinger of the American Legion and many locals still touched by the tragedy paid their respects to those who sacrificed everything for their country.
The monument, which stands outside the American Legion Post 35, now displays the names of 62 New Hampshirites who have died in the war since 2001.
"That's 62 too many," remarked Town Manager Fred Welch.
The additions are: Lance Cpl. Dimitrios Gavriel, U.S. Marine Corps, of Atkinson; Spec. Christopher A. Journeau, U.S. Army, of Stratham; 1st Sgt. Ryan J. Savard, U.S. Army, of Jefferson; Capt. Shawn G. Hogan, U.S. Army, of Salem; and 1st Lt. Paul M. DeMeo, U.S. Army, of Derry.
A loved one of Journeau, who identified himself only as Jimbo, said it was "beautiful" to have all the families of the soldiers gathered in one spot, as well as the unrelated residents who came to pay their respects.
He said he has "a crack in (his) heart for someone (he) loves," and the ceremony reassured him that he is not alone.
"We're all here together," Jimbo said. "As a team, nobody's going to beat us."
State Rep. Fred Rice, a retired U.S. Army major, said he knew and worked with DeMeo as the young man went through the process of joining the Army.
"He was one sharp son of a gun," Rice said.
Rice was especially impressed with one accomplishment of the 2011 U.S. Military Academy at West Point graduate: that in his short time with the Army, he earned the Army Commendation Medal.
"I don't know how good you have to be in just garrison duties to get that," Rice said, noting that typically soldiers have several years under their belts before they earn that particular achievement.
"Pretty much godlike," Welch added, saying that he knew plenty of men who had spent eight to 10 years in the Army without getting such recognition.
DeMeo died a week before he was set to pin the bars on his brother, recognizing his own graduation from West Point, Rice said. At his funeral procession, which went slowly past Pinkerton Academy, where he was a cadet commander his senior year with the JROTC program, students lined each side of the street for a mile and a half to pay their respects, Rice said.
Gavriel was working on Wall Street as a real estate securities analyst when the 9/11 attacks occurred, said Ralph Fatello, commander of American Legion Post 35 in Hampton. He had graduated from Brown University a few years earlier and had many friends working in the New York City area.
"He was blocks away from the World Trade Center when the attacks happened on 9/11," Fatello said. "After the second plane hit the South Tower, he called his close friend who worked in the towers. He was talking with his friend when the line went dead."
After that shocking experience, Gavriel was determined to join the military. He was first rejected from the Marine Corps because of injuries he sustained in his knees while he was a state champion heavyweight wrestler at Timberlane High School, but, undeterred, he tried again and was accepted.
In 2004, he fought at the Battle of Fallujah in Iraq and was killed in action.
Gavriel left behind his parents and a sister, who enlisted in the Marines after his death.
"She said she wanted to finish her brother's mission," Fatello said.
Savard, a 1st sergeant with the U.S. Army, served five overseas tours as he rose through the ranks from a helicopter repairman to a Special Forces weapons sergeant. He was remembered as a good athlete, funny, high-spirited, respectful and polite. He went to church every Sunday and appeared to have wanted to be in the Army, like his father, since he was in the eighth grade.
After reading an extremely length list of Savard's awards, Fatello remarked, "Ryan was a warrior."
Hogan was the valedictorian of his 2006 class at Virginia Military Institute and earned his Green Beret in 2012. Hogan, who enjoyed the outdoors, hiking, rock-climbing, running and skiing, died of injuries sustained during a training exercise in Kentucky in October.
Gov. Hassan said the soldiers' sacrifices ensure that our country is safer and our freedom is stronger.
"They made the ultimate sacrifice for our great country. We owe them a debt of gratitude that can never truly be repaid, but a debt that we must always strive to honor," Hassan said.