Ceremonies Honor Those Who Fought For Freedom
By Steve Jusseaume, Staff Writer
Hampton Union, Thursday, November 14, 2000
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
A raw, windy, autumn rainstorm greeted veterans gathering at the Hampton Beach Marine Memorial to observe Veterans Day Saturday morning.
The rain followed the contingent to three other venues at the Seacoast, through gradually it reduced itself to a light drizzle by the time ceremonies ended at the High Street Cemetery in town.
But despite the lousy weather, dozens of veterans and observers honored those who have defended America against all manner of evil by calling for remembrance and reflection on a day reserved for such.
During remarks in Hampton, Hampton Falls and in North Hampton, retired Air Force Lt. Col. James Sovich, this year's guest speaker, expressed his outrage toward a citizen's group opposed to the location of a proposed World War II memorial in Washington D.C., and reminded all those present that veterans "fought to allow us free speech and the freedoms we enjoy today." Sovich was accompanied in Hampton, Hampton Falls and North Hampton by a Color Guard. The Rev. Garrett Lear, pastor of the Well of Living Water Christian Fellowship in North Hampton, gave the invocations; Cheryl Henderson, a Winnacunnet High School sophomore and a cadet in the Marine Corps Jr. R.O.T.C., played taps; and Phillips Exeter Academy student Rachel Taylor led the assemblage in The National Anthem.
At the High Street Cemetery in Hampton, Hampton Selectman and veteran Fred Rice recalled that the day's ceremonies began 81 years ago as Armistice Day, later changed to Veteran's Day.
Also, for the first time, John M. Stump Jr. of Remick & Gendron Funeral Home in Hampton released 11 balloons as part of a national campaign, "Celebration of Freedom," in support of the proposed National World War II Memorial in Washington D.C.
The local balloon release is part of the nationwide fund raising campaign for the memorial. Sponsored by the National Funeral Directors Association, Hampton's balloon release coincided with those in other parts of the country, and the groundbreaking of the memorial Saturday in Washington. But Stump had other reasons for his participation besides simply being a funeral director.
"This is personal for me. Most of my family has served in the military, so I feel privileged to take part in this tribute," said Stump, recalling that both his grandfathers served in the Navy, and his father died just six months before his planned retirement from the Navy."