Memorial Day Ceremony Focuses On Modern History

By Steve Jusseaume

Hampton Union, Tuesday, May 27, 2003

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

What started out as a mostly rain-free morning at Hampton Beach ended under a constant rainfall at the High Street Cemetery during Monday's annual Memorial Day exercises.

Photo left: World War II Army Veteran Ray Sheehan salutes during the playing of the national anthem during the Memorial Day services at the High Street Cemetery. [Staff photo by Sarah Zenewicz]

A large contingent of veterans, police and fire personnel gathered at 8 a.m. at the New Hampshire Marine Memorial at Hampton Beach, then reconvened at Weare's Common in Hampton Falls and in front of the old town library in North Hampton, finally returning to Hampton for an 11:15 a.m. service at the cemetery.

By 11 a.m., what had been only intermittent sprinkles burgeoned into a raw, cold, persistent rainstorm.

The weather didn't keep residents and visitors away, however, as well more than 100 people gathered on High Street to watch the parade march from the Winnacunnet Road Fire Station up Lafayette Road and on to the cemetery, where a ceremony was held on Roland W. Paige Memorial field.

A scattering of residents lined High Street, huddled under multi-colored umbrellas.

Ralph Fatello, commander of American Legion Post 35, and his crew had set up plastic sheets to cover the electronics for the public-address system, which was powered by Fatello's Jeep Cherokee, parked behind the concrete stage.

The parade, larger than in recent years, was led by the Hampton Police Department's D.A.R.E. Chevy, followed by Fatello and principal speaker Lt. Col. Philip W. Bean; a convoy of military Jeeps; Hampton Selectmen Brian Warburton, Jim Workman and Cliff Pratt; the veterans; the Winnacunnet High School marching band; the New Hampshire firefighters bagpipe band; the firefighters; the police; the Hampton Mounted Patrol; the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Brownies; and a representative from the Order of the Eastern Star.

"I look at you all standing out there in the rain. ... Just the fact that you're out here when you could be in a warm home means more to us than you'll ever know," Fatello said to the crowd.

The Rev. Garrett Lear of North Hampton, himself a veteran, gave the invocation; the high school band played the national anthem; and a Hampton Academy Junior High choral group, consisting of Gabby Fatello, Brynn Potter, Sajin Murphy and Samantha Conway, and led by music teacher Elizabeth Peterson, sang "God Bless America." Then Bean was introduced.

Under increasing showers, Bean, a Winnacunnet High School and University of New Hampshire graduate who served in the Iraqi conflict, focused on terrorism during his remarks.

"Some say this was commenced on 9/11. A closer examination of international terrorism takes us back to the terrorist murders of Jewish athletes at the Olympic Village almost 30 years ago. Nothing was done. Terrorism struck the Marines in Lebanon. ... Terror struck at the Khobar Towers (in Saudi Arabia in 1996)," Bean said, also noting other attacks, including the downing of an American airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Bean referred to a new "nonlinear" style of warfare in which there is no visible enemy and no traditional battlefield. He also thanked local police officers and firefighters, "who protect us, serve us, who fall for us, close to home, in normal operations and, today, combat operations within our very borders."

Following Bean's remarks, the Rev. Lear gave the benediction, followed by the laying of a wreath and the playing of taps by members of the WHS band.

And the rain only fell harder.

A full transcript of Lt. Col. Bean's remarks appears on this link: "Payback".