Honoring Those Who Served

By Liz Premo

Atlantic News, Thursday, November 14, 2002

[The following article is courtesy of the Atlantic News]
COLOR GUARD —The Winnacunnet High School MJROTC color
guard takes part in Veteran's Day Ceremonies held in Hampton Falls.
[Atlantic News Photo by McGee]

SEACOAST — Though gray skies seemed poised to bring steady showers at any time on Monday morning, scheduled Veterans' Day ceremonies at Hampton Beach, Hampton Falls, North Hampton and Hampton went off somewhat on the damp side but apparently without a hitch.

The schedule began with a 9 a.m. ceremony at the New Hampshire Marine Memorial on Hampton Beach. A small crowd of observers gathered near the granite "Lady Statue," as did a contingent of local Veterans and color guards representing American Legion Post #35 and the MJROTC program from Winnacunnet High School.

An invocation was offered by Chaplain John MacInnis. Then, introduced by Dan Nersesian, WHS junior Jenny Petruzziello sang the National Anthem while all stood at attention. Guest speaker Fred Rice, an Army Veteran who served in Vietnam, was introduced by Nersesian before taking his place behind the microphone

"We gather to honor all Veterans" who served this country, he said, "in any branch of the service, at any time in our history." Comparing the various roles in the military to those involved with a sports team (players, coaches, managers, etc.) and the importance of each, role played, Rice reiterated, "No matter what branch or what time in history [they served], they're all Veterans."

Rice also noted that in World War II, about 50 percent of those who served had been drafted, as opposed to the less than 25 percent who were drafted to fight in Vietnam. After the draft ended in 1974, said Rice, all who have served in the military since that time have done so voluntarily. Closer to home, Rice observed that in the town of Hampton alone, more than 1000 pieces of property are owned by Veterans or their surviving spouses that live there. He urged those listening to ask each and every Veteran they know in the community "to stand up and be counted."

In regard to the role that Veterans have played in protecting this country's freedoms, Rice said "We're still the free-est nation in the world because of them." He expressed hope that an appropriate "thank you" event for area Veterans could someday be held at a large enough venue so that all could be so honored.

A military gun salute, the laying of a wreath at the foot of the Marine Memorial, the playing of "Taps" and a benediction offered by MacInnis ended the beach ceremony about a half-hour after it began.

Similar ceremonies took place throughout the remainder of the morning. Hampton Marine Corps Veteran Jerry McConnell was the guest speaker on the town common in Hampton Falls, and again at the High Street Cemetery in Hampton. McConnell shared about his tour of active duty at Guadalcanal during World War II, and acknowledged the contribution of all American Veterans. In between these particular speaking engagements, Rice offered his comments to those gathered in front of the North Hampton town hall, where a wreath laying and the gun salute again took 11 a.m.

At every stop, Veterans both present and departed were honored with song, salutes and personal sentiments. And, an important reminder was given to the community — to thank those who so faithfully served their country.

Scenes From Veterans' Day 2002

Ceremonies at the Hampton Schools

STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER -- Students at Centre School gathered around the flag pole on the front lawn of the school last Friday in honor Veterans' Day. The event included patriot songs and the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, which was raised by custodian David Parrish (left).
[Atlantic News photo by Liz Premo]
Marston School students stand at attention during the National Anthem at the school's first-ever Veterans' Day event. Local Veterans and a MJROTC color guard from Winnacunnet High School were present at both ceremonies.
[Atlantic News photo by Liz Premo]
AN HONORABLE OCCASION -- American Legion Post #35 member John MacInnis (at podium) gives the invocation and the benediction at last week's Veterans' Day ceremony held at Hampton Academy Junior High School. [Atlantic News photo by Liz Premo]

Ceremonies At Hampton Beach

A TRIBUTE TO ALL WHO SERVED -- Seacoast area Veterans were honored at Veterans' Day ceremonies on Monday morning, November 11, 2002. Winnacunnet High School junior Jenny Petruzziello (behind microphone) sang the National Anthem at the New Hampshire Marine Memorial, while Veterans, color guards and onlookers stood at attention.
[Atlantic News photo by Liz Premo]
Army Veteran Fred Rice, who with Marine Corps Veteran Jerry McConnell served as a guest speaker throughout the morning, offered a tribute to all who served. A military gun salute, a wreath laying, and the playing of "Taps" accompanied invocations, benedictions, and the words of remembrance at ceremonies held at Hampton Beach, Hampton Falls, North Hampton and Hampton. [Atlantic News photo by Liz Premo]

Ceremonies At Hampton Falls

HONORING THOSE WHO SERVED -- In each community, in this case, Hampton Falls, the familiar ceremonies of Veterans Day unfolded across the Seacoast and the Country.
[Atlantic News photo by McGee]
Veterans Day was once known as Armistice Day in honor of the 1918 Armistice brought the fighting of World War One to a conclusion. You can find the Terms of the Armistice and an explanation of them at this website.
[Atlantic News photo by McGee]