Fallen Soldiers Honored at Monument Ceremony
Six Names Added to War Memorial
By Jason Schreiber
Hampton Union, Friday, September 14,2007
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
[Scott Yates photo]
When the black drape was pulled away, the grim reality of war was revealed.
A monument in Hampton dedicated to New Hampshire servicemen killed in the war on terror showed six more names added to the growing list.
Lynn Savage saw the name of her son, Army Cpl. Matthew J. Stanley, for the first time.
"It's heartbreaking," said the Wolfeboro mother, who was joined by other grieving families at a ceremony Tuesday night honoring America's war heroes and others fighting to keep America safe six years after the deadly attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Nearly 200 people turned out for the ceremony organized by Hampton's American Legion Post 35.
It was a ceremony that Denise Gionet attended for the first time last year when her son's name was engraved on the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Monument outside Post 35. She's made the trip from her home in Pelham to Hampton several times to see the name of her son, Daniel, an Army medic who died in June 2006.
"Not a day goes by that I don't tell him that I love him," Gionet said as a light drizzle pelted the white tent that kept the memorial dry.
The memorial was first unveiled last Sept. 11 and was designed with space to add more names.
"We knew the global war on terrorism was going to be a long war," Post 35 Cmdr. Ralph Fatello said.
[Scott Yates photo]
The most recent names added were Cpl. Nicholas A. Arvantis of Salem, Lance Cpl. Ryan T. McCaughn of Manchester, Cpl. Matthew J. Stanley of Wolfeboro, Spc. Toby R. Olsen of Manchester, Spc. Justin A. Rollins of Newport and Capt. Jonathan D. Grassbaugh of East Hampstead, who graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy.
Fatello, who described 9/11 as the "single most defining moment in our nation's history," recalled the bravery of the firefighters, police and other emergency workers who died just doing their jobs.
"Sept. 11, 2001, was a day of sacrifice," he said. "We all witnessed incredible acts of bravery that day."
Tuesday night's ceremony featured several guest speakers, including Gov. John Lynch, who recalled the many men and women he's met in the military and the many funerals and memorial services he's attended for those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Lynch called the monument a "fitting tribute" to those who sacrificed their lives.
"Sadly, six (new) names have been added to this memorial," he said.
Marine Sgt. Nick Cyr, a state trooper with Troop A in Epping, spoke about his time on the battlefield in Iraq and hunting down terrorists in Afghanistan. He recalled how Iraqi fighters would go door to door in search of more men to recruit to fight for the resistance. If the men refused, Cyr said, their families were killed.
Cyr lost a close friend in 2005 who joined the Marines after the attacks on Sept. 11.
Lynn Savage's son enlisted not long after Sept. 11, as well.
"He felt it was a calling for him to go and do whatever he could do," she said.