Monday, September 12, 2011

Those Who Gave All They Had To Give

Keeping Vigil On The Seacoast

That's the motto of our American Legion in Hampton, Post 35.  It's not just empty words.  This group of servicemen and women who have served their country is intent on honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.  Five years ago, the post erected the only monument in New Hampshire to honor the soldiers, sailors and Marines who have lost their lives in the War on Terrorism since 9/11.  The granite is engraved with the names of the fallen.  Each year Post 35 holds a service of remembrance at the memorial on 9/11. The families of these servicemen are present, and the newly engraved names of those lost during the previous year are unveiled. It is most definitely a sad occasion, but I believe a necessary one as well. Some have given their all in this fight, and it would be even sadder if we did not remember them.

Post Commander Fatello began last night by introducing our Governor, who has attended each of these memorials, as one of the 'most sincere and compassionate men he's ever met'. This compassion Commander Fatello speaks of is apparent, watching  Governor Lynch before the ceremony, shaking the hands of servicemen and women of all ages, and offering words of condolence to the families of the fallen.

Post 35 takes their role in honoring the fallen servicemen seriously and conducts itself as such.  White carnations are given out to the family members and a special area is designated for them directly in front of the memorial.  The 'Keepers of the Stone' (of which Uncle George is one) have cared for the stone so that it shines and a shroud is placed over the stone until the new names are revealed.  Then, when directed, the Keepers remove the shroud and stand and salute the families. A wreath is laid. Guest speakers say kind and thoughtful words that speak of the sacrifice of these servicemen. Then each name is read, and a bell tolls; a brief moment to reflect on each serviceman's greatest sacrifice. His life.

This year eight new names were added. That means that 57 men from New Hampshire have given their lives on behalf of their country, in the face of evil and in support of freedom since 9/11.  The reasons don't take away the impact of the loss to their families. 

Taps is played. Then in the distance, a piper plays Amazing Grace. 

The sun sets.

There is hope and prayer amongst the crowd, that no new names will ever have to be added to this stone.

To Di & Al's We Go

This year our neighborhoodlums Gerry and Sandee went to the service with us. They thought very highly of it.  We ran into my sister Di and brother in law Al along with their neighbors Kelly and Dan. It's a real small town kind of thing, with people seeing people they haven't seen for awhile, and catching up after it's over. 

The neighboorhoodlums of Stratham were invited to the Locke Road Commune Night at Di & Al's. So off we went.

There were lots of laughs, good food and nice company.  Sandee decided it was meant to be when Al brought out a bottle of Bogle, her favorite wine.  The rest of us decided it was meant to be when we tasted Di's crock pot pork in BBQ sauce and Al's smoother than smooth mashed potatoes. 

The men had a meeting of the minds and a crossing of the arms.

We all had a meeting of the minds with regard to Memere's peanut butter fudge that Dan and Kelly were kind enough to share. I could have eaten at all, but was able to control myself and stop at 1 piece and a 1/3. (Awesome fudge Memere!! We'd be more than happy to take some of the next batch off your hands.)

We enjoyed their neighborhood Commune Night and told them they'd all have to attend one of ours. 

Two things to note: I obviously never changed my camera setting after the services and the next time we attend Commune Night we'll know that we're attending ahead of time and bring something to share.

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