Honoring All Veterans On This Day

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'An Editorial'

Hampton Union, Friday, November 11, 2005

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

Today is the day we honor all of the veterans who have served in our nation's military forces — not only those who have died, but particularly those who are living.

They need not have gone to war. They need not have been wounded or been sent overseas. They need only to have served.

It doesn't matter whether they served a few years or 40.

They deserve our gratitude and respect.

They might be our Uncle Joe or the man or woman at the desk next to ours at work.

They might display their military experience proudly and openly or they might keep silent about that part of their lives.

It doesn't matter. They deserve our gratitude and respect.

It is fitting that groups such as the American Legion mark this day with ceremonies at various sites.

This area is fortunate to have two such groups, Post 35 in Hampton and the Raymond E. Walton Post 70 in Seabrook.

Their members do good work and lead the way when it comes to honoring veterans and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation.

They deserve our gratitude and respect.

It is also fitting that we honor our veterans during a time when we have men and women serving in harm's way, as we do today, primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This past June we were saddened to learn of the death in Iraq of the son of Michael Coutu of North Hampton.

Lt. Matthew Coutu, 23, was killed by a sniper in Baghdad.

At the time, Michael Coutu said, "We're the type of family that puts value on God and country. From that standpoint, I thought it was admirable that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father (who served in Vietnam) and my father (who fought in World War II)."

Also this year a young Marine from Seabrook was badly injured in Iraq when a rocket hit his barracks in February, leaving him with two broken legs, a broken left ankle, the loss of the Achilles tendon in his right foot and second- and third-degree burns.

Staff Sgt. Ian LeJeune, 26, has since undergone 12 surgeries and is recovering in California near the Camp Pendleton Marine base.

And then we have Seabrook police officer Mike Cawley, who recently returned safely from a tour in Iraq with his Army Reserve unit.

Sgt. Cawley, who was injured slightly during fighting over there, kept readers of The Hampton Union informed about what life was like over there via a series of e-mail letters, the last of which appears today in which he sums up his experiences.

In it he says he is "proud of serving my country and will always remember my experience in Iraq" and that "whether you agree on why we are there, the fact is that we are there."

He also thinks that the "Iraqi military and civilian government can and will stand on its own when it can."

These three men, and all others who have served honorably in our military, deserve our gratitude and respect on this Veterans Day.

If you see a veteran today, say, "Thank you."

— The Hampton Union
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