A Somber Occasion

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Rivera Honored at Dedication

By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Friday, April 20, 2007

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

American Legion Post 35 donated a flag pole and an American flag to Winnacunnet High School's new baseball field last week during the team's opening day game.

"Realizing the field didn't have a flag and being who we are and how important the flag is to us, we decided to do something about it," said American Legion Post 35 Commander Ralph Fatello.

The dedication ceremony, however, took a somber tone as legion members honor Pfc. MarciAnna Rivera, 19, a 2006 WHS graduate who was killed over Easter weekend.

"Many Winnacunnet students have gone on to serve our country in the military," Fatello said. "Many played sports here, many played baseball. Unfortunately several have given their lives for our country.

"This past week we lost MarciAnna Rivera, who was an Army specialist medic. She was several weeks away from serving her country in Iraq. She never made it."

Rivera was killed in her home in Killeen, Texas, in what police investigators are calling a murder-suicide. Police allege Shannon Bennington, 22, shot Rivera, his wife, in the head and then turned the gun on himself.

Fatello, who asked for a moment of silence in her honor, called Rivera's death a tragedy that should never have happened.

The Winnacunnet ROTC, which Rivera was once a member, was at the dedication ceremony. The legion voted to donate the flag pole on the suggestion of fellow legionnaire Joe Kutt.

Brian Chevalier, George Masten and John Barvenick, of Post 35, performed the physical labor to install the pole.

After the dedication ceremony, Kutt, who threw out the first pitch, issued a challenge to the WHS baseball players.

"The first one who hits the new flag pole will get a steak," Kutt said. "If the opposing team hits it, they will get a bag of chips."

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