By Liz Premo, Editorial Assistant
Atlantic News, Thursday, June 6, 2002[The following article is courtesy of the Atlantic News]
[Editor's Note: The following letter — written in late April to US Congressman John E. Sununu (R-NH) by Atlantic News Editorial Assistant Liz Premo — describes why she felt Hampton Veteran, Historian, and Atlantic News Contributing Writer John Holman was the perfect candidate to be presented an American Flag flown over the US Capitol building in Washington, DC.]
"Dear Mr. Sununu, I have a dear friend named John Holman whom I would like to tell you about.
"Mr. Holman is an active, busy, 70-something Senior Citizen with a heart of gold and a sparkling sense of humor to match. He is married to the lovely Connie Holman, a retired school teacher; they recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Mr. Holman served his country with the US Army and is a Veteran, a member of our local American Legion Post #35 here in Hampton, New Hampshire.
"He is a local historian as well, with a wealth of knowledge (and plenty of stories to tell) about the Hampton area. In fact, he has compiled histories on our police and fire departments, and presented to both department chiefs binders filled with page after page of information, with text and photographs, outlining the history of their departments.
"He is active in community service in many, many different ways. He visits local Senior Citizens in nursing homes, gathering them in the community room and playing their favorite music on the piano while they sing along. He's active in his American Legion Post, and has been a regular and faithful contributor to the newspaper for which I work, the Atlantic News. He also volunteers at the Lane Memorial Library here in Hampton, putting up historical and current news articles on the library's Hampton History Web site, and generally keeping the library staff in stitches with his sense of humor.
"One thing my friend Mr. Holman is very serious about, however, is the American Flag. He loves this symbol of our country. As a member of Post #35, he makes sure that the hundreds of American flags that are stationed on the graves of our town's veterans are always flying. If they become worn, tattered, damaged or absent, he faithfully replaces them.
"In Hampton we have special street sign plaques for streets named after deceased veterans [killed in the wars]. These plaques have a bracket to hold a small American flag. Mr. Holman maintains these as well, making sure that all flags are flying and that all are in excellent condition. When the horrific events of September 11 occurred, Mr. Holman was instrumental in helping our community display our patriotism by getting the word out that people could obtain their own miniature versions of the Stars & Stripes, courtesy of himself and Post #35.
"Mr. Holman is also currently helping to arrange, as he has done in the past, this year's Flag Day observation and ceremonial flag burning which will take place the evening of June 14. He has a huge flagpole in his front yard from which Old Glory proudly flies. And, when he thought that vandals were responsible for the removal (cut clean from their staffs!) of dozens of flags from the cemetery, he was in turn horrified, indignant, and brokenhearted, and moved quickly to replace them all. (We later found out that the culprits were actually squirrels snatching the flags to line their nests. He was quite relieved, and explored ways to prevent the same thing from happening in the future. Of course, the situation generated more than a few chuckles from us!)
"What I am trying to convey here is Mr. Holman's deep, sincere love and devotion to his flag and to his country. His steadfast patriotism is an example to all who know and love him. He flies our beloved flag proudly, whether it's in his front yard or in his heart. With this in mind, I believe it would be a great honor for him if he were to be the recipient of a special gift which I am certain he would be most humbled — and proud — to accept.
"I know that you often present deserving citizens with American Flags that have flown over government buildings both in New Hampshire and Washington DC. It would thrill me, Mr. Sununu, if you would kindly consider bestowing this special honor upon my dear friend, Mr. John Holman. He, more than anyone else I know, is deserving of such a meaningful gesture. He is a true patriot, a true American, and a true friend. Thank you very, very much.Sincerely, Liz Premo Atlantic News"
Sununu: Hampton Army Veteran Dedicated To His Flag, Country
Congressman Presents John Holman With Stars & Stripes
Flown Over The U.S. Capitol In His Honor
Thursday, June 6, 2002
Marston Elementary School, Hampton, N.H.
HAMPTON, NH -- Congressman John B. Sununu (R-NH) honored the dedicated patriotism of Hampton Army Veteran John Holman at a May 31st ceremony in Hampton where he presented Holman with an American flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in his honor.
"John Holman's quiet acts of patriotism through the years illustrate a strong devotion to our country that deserves recognition and respect. It was truly an honor to meet him and present him with a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in his honor," said Sununu, following the flag presentation at the Marston School annual barbecue in Hampton. "Through the years, he has taken it upon himself to make sure that American flags on the graves of the town's veterans are well cared for, and if they become worn or missing he replaces them on his own."
"John also takes takes special care to ensure that the street sign plaques named after deceased veterans always have an American flag flying in their brackets," Sununu continued. "When terrorists attacked our country on September 11, he helped Hampton display its patriotism by informing town residents where they could obtain an American flag. His next project - arranging the town's Flag Day Observation on June 14."
Local and school officials, students as well as friends of Holman and his wife Connie were on hand to watch him receive the flag and its accompanying certificate from Sununu, which reads:
"This flag was flown in honor of John Holman in recognition of your service to our country in the United States Army, as a Veteran and Member of American Legion Post #35 and with grateful thanks for your appreciation of the American Flag and all that is symbolizes."
Liz Premo, one of Holman's friends present at the ceremony, elaborated on his dedication to his country, noting, "His steadfast patriotism is an example to all who know and love him. He flies our beloved flag proudly, whether it's in his front yard or his heart. He is a true patriot, a true American, and true friend."
Premo also highlighted Holman's extensive volunteer service to the community noting, "He is a local historian as well, with a wealth of knowledge about the Hampton area. In fact, he has compiled histories on our police and fire departments, and presented to both department chiefs photographs, outlining the history of our departments."
"He is active in community service in many. Many ways. He visits local senior citizens in nursing homes, gathering them in community rooms and playing their favorite music on the piano while they sing along," she continued. "He's active in his American Legion Post, and has been a regular contributor to the newspaper for which I work, the Atlantic News. He also volunteers at the Lane Memorial Library in Hampton, putting up historical and currents news articles on the library's Hampton History web site, and generally keeping the library staff in stitches with his sense of humor.