'They Are All Veterans'
Reservists, Guardsmen Honored For Their Service
By Scott E. Kinney, Atlantic News Staff Writer
Atlantic News, Friday, November 18, 2005
[The following article is courtesy of the Atlantic News]
[Atlantic News Photos by Scott Kinney/Liz Premo]
HAMPTON -- Reservists and National Guard troops deserve the same amount of respect as any other Veteran of the US military.
That was the message from American Legion Post #35 Commander Ralph Fatello as he addressed the crowd at High Street Cemetery as part of the Post's Veteran's Day observances.
Fatello said reservists and National Guard troops have been serving the country since 1775. In recent times reservists and National Guardsmen have served in every major American conflict since World War II up to today's global "War on Terror" — 43 percent of those currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are reservists or National Guard troops.
"I personally know some reservists and National Guard troops who feel as though they are not true Veterans and that upsets me and my fellow Veterans," said Fatello "Some of these brave men and women live right here on the Seacoast. Some have served overseas in dangerous war zones, while others have served here in the states. But, they are all Veterans who took the same oath to defend our country as every one of us. They trained just as hard as any regular soldier, marine, sailor, airman or Coast Guardsman and their sacrifice is just as noble."
Guest speaker Hampton Police Lt. Richard Sawyer said he was among those reservists who felt he didn't deserve the status of Veteran.
"I'm in awe of these people," he said. "Some of these people are the great Americans who served in time of war."
Sawyer said he looks forward to the day his daughter, who will be 4 in December, asks him what Veteran's Day is for.
"I'm going to tell her that Veteran's Day is a day set aside to honor the men and women who have served our country in the armed services to defend our nation," said Sawyer. "It's not an extra day off of school or work to go shopping."
The High Street ceremony was one of four conducted in Seacoast towns; others were held at Hampton Beach, North Hampton and Hampton Falls.
In closing, Fatello said it was important to honor those who fought and did not return and gave special thanks to those Veterans in attendance who have given their time to the country.
"Keep them in your hearts and prayers, and never forget them," he said.