Tribute To Veterans

By Nancy Rineman

Hampton Union, Friday, March 23, 2007

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

Ralph Fatello, commander of American Legion Post 35, produced a documentary on the dedication of the Global War on Terror Monument in Hampton last Sept. 11.
[Photo by Nancy Rineman]

HAMPTON -- While many community members remember the dedication of the Global War on Terror Monument last Sept. 11, Ralph Fatello, commander of American Legion Post 35, has taken steps to enhance the experience.

Fatello has produced a 75-minute video featuring the entire event, where hundreds assembled for the solemn tribute to New Hampshire heroes who lost their lives since Sept. 11, 2001, while fighting the war on terrorism.

"This Global War on Terror dedication was something significant for this town," Fatello said. "It's about the most moving experience I've ever had in my life, and I've had a few."

The video also features highlights of a special Veterans Day observance at Post 35 headquarters on High Street, where families of New Hampshire servicemen watched as their loved one's names were added to the monument.

Fatello points out not all those honorees were killed in war. The monument includes those killed in training after 9/11.

"It's not like in Vietnam where we waited too long," Fatello said. "We wanted to do it while (this) is fresh in their minds."

The documentary is set to background music expressing the somber tone of the day, and features speeches by state and town leaders and dignitaries. While Fatello assumes the role of director, producer and editor, much of the videography was provided by his 15-year-old son, Max. Fatello likes to refer to him as "my little apprentice."

Area residents will see many familiar faces among those at both tributes. Fatello also conducted several interviews with veterans and has incorporated their stories into the film.

Fatello was schooled in graphic design at the Art Institute of Boston when he returned from Vietnam. With advertising and design as a major, he has always maintained an interest in filming.

"I've been around video and movie cameras my entire life," Fatello said. "I've taken that baton and done that same thing."

As owner of Adlantic Advertising & Design in Hampton, Fatello's business includes designing Web sites, brochures, logos, magazine ads, as well as corporate, restaurant and bank ads. He is expanding that career into a new interest known as Memory Lane Movies.

Fatello said this is a concept he had thought about while his father was alive, more than seven years ago. This newest goal will tell the stories of people's lives, from family memories, old photos, creating the tale with music as a professional movie with a graphic design on the cover as well as on the DVD itself.

Fatello said he and fellow veterans at Post 35 decided they could step up and do something for these present day vets. The American Legion District 3 commander has taken the DVD of the monument dedication event to Washington, D.C., and Fatello said as far as anyone knows, the monument in Hampton is the only one, or at least the first, of its kind in the country.

"We as Post 35 did something good for these vets; I think it helps the families," Fatello said.

"We have an active, forward-thinking, proactive group here ... with a lot to do with the community we live in."