By Laura Mellow
Herald Sunday, Sunday, November 12, 2006
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
[Veterans' Day photo by Laura Mellow]
A Veterans' Day assembly was held at North Hampton School on Wednesday, November 8, in an effort to celebrate some of New Hampshire 's local veterans as well as to educate the students regarding the meaning behind the national holiday. Several members from American Legion Post 35 came to the school to participate in the assembly which was hosted by eighth grade student council members.
"On May 24, 1954 congress declared November 11 to be known as Veterans' Day, a day to acknowledge those who are serving our country in the armed forces," said student council president, Tyler Williams, explaining how Armistice Day eventually evolved into Veterans' Day. "They left behind their family, friends and traditions to go to an unfamiliar place where they did things for the greater good. For that, they should be honored."
Legion treasurer Joe Kutt gave a speech at the assembly and passed around pieces of memorabilia including an original 1945 surrender leaflet, one of many that were dropped from airplanes during the end of World War II for Japanese soldiers to obtain and hold over their heads indicating their surrender.
"I've got a lot of artifacts and stuff collected from the wars from different Veterans who've given it to me. We'd like to start a little museum and open it up to the public when we're ready," Cutt said regarding a museum that the veterans will be setting up at the Hampton Legion.
Kutt also spoke about the Global War on Terror Monument which the Legion unveiled this past September 11, which bears the names of all of the soldiers who have lost their lives since September 11, 2001 .
"It's in memory of all the New Hampshire boys, all the New Hampshire boys that were killed in those last five years…It's the first of a kind in the whole United States where all the names of one state are in one location. It's a place for all the families of NH to visit."
In appreciation of each branch of service, the school chorus then performed the "Armed Forces Salute," a medley of each branch's theme song. This was followed by student council representative Samii Smith's reading of "In Flanders Field," the famous poem written by John McCrae, a medical officer during World War I.
"That Flanders Field is a touching poem, isn't it?" said World War II veteran Dave Colt. "I hope they know what it's all about. It's about the soldiers who didn't come home."
Student council Secretary, Molly Megna, also read poet A. Lawrence Vaincourt's "Just a Common Soldier" at the assembly.
"Most of us just go about this day not remembering what it's really about," said student council vice-president Kristen Bougie who helped to coordinate the assembly. "So we just want to remind them how special it is."
"I think it great to show respect for our country," said eighth-grade student Dan Kilgore.
"I just want you to remember all our troops everywhere around this globe doing things that you just can't imagine," Kutt said. "It's not the guys just walking around with the uniforms. It's what they did to earn that uniform."