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150th Anniversary of Decoration Day observed at NH Veterans Cemetery

Union Leader Correspondent

May 31. 2018 12:09AM
Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Lee Hirtle of Boscawen plays taps at the conclusion of Memorial Day ceremonies held Wednesday at the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery. (BEA LEWIS/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)

BOSCAWEN — U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster said in her family, thoughts on Memorial Day turn to the liberation of Europe. Her father’s P-47 Thunderbolt was shot down during the Battle of the Bulge.

For months the family thought he had been killed in a dogfight, but a Red Cross post card brought the good news that he had survived. He was liberated from a POW camp on VE Day.

“I always remember the families whose loved ones never came home,” Kuster said during remarks at the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery.

During Memorial Day observances at the Boscawen cemetery, Gov. Chris Sununu said fallen veterans should be revered every day, not just on the holiday set aside to honor them.

That reverence needs to be modeled for today’s youth.

“Anytime we have to stand up and remind them how important service is and honor that, I think it can inspire folks — that next generation — to want to step up and serve and understand what that call to service really means,” he said.

Brig. Gen. David Mikolaities, New Hampshire adjutant general, said the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery was “the final resting place of heroes.”

As the American flag flapped at half-staff overhead, Mikolaities invoked imagery suitable for the occasion, quoting an unknown writer.

“The flag does not fly because of the wind that blows it. The flag flies because each soldier’s last breath blows by it,” he said.

Gov. Chris Sununu and Ernie Sulloway, Commander of Disabled American Veterans Department of N.H. lay a wreath at the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery during Memorial Day observances on Wednesday. (BEA LEWIS/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen agreed that the cemetery was the resting place of heroes, but spoke too of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and remain where they fell.

William W. Bourdeau, 23, of Concord, died in the Battle of Belleau Wood in World War I. His name remains on the Tablet of the Missing at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France.

“We remember him and his fallen comrades, all American heroes who displayed extraordinary courage and selflessness. Some are here, and others like Private Bourdeau remain on a foreign battlefield, known only to God,” Shaheen said.

Sen. Maggie Hassan said those who rest in the surrounding graves are fathers, mothers, sons, daughters and neighbors who put their lives aside and sacrificed everything because they believed in the future.

Just as the nation’s gratitude for the war dead is enduring, so is the pain for the families of those who died fighting.

“Our hearts break for your loss. Remember we will always be here for you just like your loved one was there for us,” she pledged.

As part of the observances, the 39th Army Band, N.H. Army National Guard, under the direction of Staff Sgt. Michael Benoit of Manchester performed. 

The Boscawen Elementary School Chorus sang and the school’s fifth-grade class recited the Gettysburg address.

Veterans War History Boscawen


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