By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, Tuesday, September 12, 2006
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
[Photo by Jamie Cohen]
HAMPTON -- Hundreds came out on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to watch the American Legion Post 35 unveil a first-of-its-kind monument in honor of all the veterans from the state who lost their lives in the global war on terror.
The monument lists 23 names, including Matthew S. Coutu, whose father lives in North Hampton, and Daniel R. Healy, who lived as a child in Hampton and later lived in Exeter, graduating from Exeter High School in 1986.
Coutu, 23, was killed in Iraq by a sniper outside a Baghdad police station on June 21, 2005. Healy was killed June 28, 2005, when his MH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down in the rugged mountains of eastern Afghanistan.
"We will never forget," said Post 35 Cmdr. Ralph Fatello. "We didn't want to wait 30, 40 or 60 years to honor them. We wanted to do it now."
Gov. John Lynch was one of the many state and federal officials in attendance of the unveiling and dedication ceremony held outside the American Legion Post on High Street.
"Freedom is not without a price," Lynch said. "To the families that have a name listed on the stone, our debt can never be repaid. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and I salute you."
Col. Timothy Bailey, who served two tours in Afghanistan and received the Bronze Star, and Maj. Robert Lonergan, who served in Iraq, also spoke at the event.
"We will never forget them or their sacrifice," Bailey said. "Rest in peace my brothers."
Fatello told the crowd it was only fitting to honor these men on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.
"That day was a wake-up call," Fatello said. "It was just like what happened on Dec. 7, 1941. They saw what happened that day and stopped what they were doing to raise their hands and take oath by enlisting by the hundreds of thousands. Many of the men on that sacred monument heard the call."
Color guards from the U.S. Army and Navy and the Winnacunnet High School U.S. Marine Corps Junior ROTC Color Guard, all took part in the ceremony. The Seacoast Marine Corps League's Rifle Squad conducted a memorial salute after each one of the fallen soldiers names were read out loud.