By Liz Premo, Atlantic News Staff Writer
Atlantic News, Friday, December 22, 2006
[The following article is courtesy of the Atlantic News]
HAMPTON -- Members of Hamptons' American Legion Post #35 celebrated a significant milestone this week with the observance of their Post's 75th birthday.
About 55 persons were in attendance at the event, which was filled with music, refreshments, camaraderie and plenty of patriotism.
The party started with the Winnacunnet High School MCJrROTC Color Guard and a warm welcome by Post #35 Commander, Ralph G. Fatello.
This was followed by the National Anthem, beautifully sung by Marston School student Elaine Weatherby, with accompaniment by Hampton Academy eighth grader David Sheehy on piano.
"It was wonderful," said John Holman, Post #35 Chaplain, 54-year member and organizer of the event.
Elaine had a family connection at the celebration as well as a musical one: She is the daughter of member Dave Weatherby and the niece of another member, Mark Weatherby, noted buglar.
the National Anthem
Holman then read an invocation written by Lynn A. Davis of Patchogue, New York:
"Our gathering today is a time of celebration and reflection for the wisdom of a few men who through their courage and action became the Hampton American Legion Post #35. We must pause for a few moments and remember the effect of the simple act of unity that occurred many years ago and where it has led us to today," read Holman. "Today we are standing together as a community, amongst friends and family, to reaffirm our strength and our presence amongst our neighbors and for the betterment of our country. The celebration today is proof that our tomorrows will be brighter because of the continuing sacrifices our service men and women. Bless all that came before and those that stand here today."
Other members took part in the program, with Post #35 Sergeant at Arms, Roger Syphers, leading all in the Pledge of Allegiance and member Ansell Palmer reading the Preamble to the Constitution of the American Legion. "We associate ourselves together for the following purposes," read Palmer. "To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; to maintain law and order; to foster and perpetuate a one hundred percent Americanism; to preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in the great wars; to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation; to combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses; to make right the master of might; to promote peace and goodwill on earth; to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy; to consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness."
"He did a good job with that," commented Holman.
The Legion Hall was soon filled with the sound of "America" as performed by the Hampton Academy Jazz Band, under the direction of Band Instructor, Andrew Price. This was followed by a brief overview of Post #35's history, presented by Holman.
Hamptons' Post was first chartered back on December 29, 1931, about 12 years after the American Legion organization itself was established in 1919 following the end of World War I. Members originally met at the court house on Winnacunnet Road before eventually moving on to the Exeter, Hampton and Amesbury Street railway power station on Exeter Road.
"We were there for quite a while," said Holman, adding that in the mid-1960s, Post #35 eventually took ownership of the former Grange Hall on High Street, where they still hold regular meetings on the third Monday of the month.
Following the history portion of the program, Jr. Vice Commander, John Emery read the names of the 33 charter members of Legion Post #35. The list named Frank S. Austin, Linwood A. Bailey, Fred R. Batchelder, Everett L. Blake, Victor A. Bogrett, David O. Brooks, Albert A. Brown, Millard E. Dalton, Charles J. Davis, James A. Eastman, Harry N. Elwell, Roy E. Fogg, Edward S. Gotham, James F. Hobbs, Marshall S. Holman, George R. Janvrin, Ernest E. Kent, Randal Kernan, Earle H. Knowles, Leslie L. Lovett, Dean B. Merrill, Victor M. Mitchell, Eugene F. Moaratty, Jasper B. Myers, Myron J. Norton, Andrew R. Perkins, Oscar J. Scammon, William P. Stickney, Walter R. Trafton, Kenneth E. Tyler, Harry N. Whenal, Homer B. Whiting and Marvin F. Young.
Holman's son-in-law, Frank C. Caruso rang a Commander's Bell after each name was read, in memory of the 33 departed Charter Members. The bell, originally utilized as a firemen's bell, is set upon a wood stand expertly crafted by Post #35 member George Masten.
"Boy, is it beautiful," said Holman of the bell stand, noting that several current members, himself included, are relatives of the honored charter members for whom the bell was rung.
The program wrapped up with a selection of patriotic songs performed by the HA Jazz Band ("They were terrific," said Holman), a benediction written by Lynn A. Davis, and a social hour with refreshments provided by former Post Commander, Joe Kutt.
The 75th birthday celebration of Hamptons American Legion Post #35 appeared to go off without a hitch, and earned high marks from the person responsible for much of its organizational success.
"The whole thing," observed Holman, "came out perfect."