Why We Remember
By Sheila Nudd, Hampton Academy Music Teacher
Atlantic News, Friday, June 2, 2006
[The following article is courtesy of the Atlantic News]
Special to the Atlantic News
(Editor's Note: This composition was written by Hampton Academy music teacher, Sheila Nudd, who read it at the school's recent Memorial Day ceremony honoring former HA students who went on to the US military and died in service to their country.)
Our memories are important to us as individuals and as a community. As individuals, it is our memory that defines who we are as persons. Many of you know that when one has Alzheimer's or dementia that person often forgets friends, family, even their own names. They remember nothing about who they were and why they were.
As a community it is just as important to have shared memories, to know our past, where we came from, who made these moments possible. Within these walls is a wealth of history. Whether we are a student, a teacher or an administrator here, life at Hampton Academy began long before any of us set foot in this building.
The young people remembered this afternoon sat here for assemblies. Their artwork graced the walls. Their musical talents were showcased in concerts. They wrote for the newspaper, played and often excelled at sports. Some were good students. Others were hardly students at all. All died before the age of 35; some before the age of 20. They are a part of each and every one of here today. In some way, all left a legacy for our school community.
If we ignore them, if we forget their contributions, their faces, their names - they lose their lives again. We, present here today, are their voices. Only those of us who care to know their stories can pass them on to the next generation.
They are part of us in a very large way. They bought candy at Marelli's, they fished at Batchelder's Pond. They attended these churches, belongs to the Scouts, flirted, danced, laughed, sang, and cried just as we do today. They bicycled on Winnacunnet Road, Exeter Road, High Street and Lafayette Road. They skied, fished and surfed; they played ball on these fields and in this gym.
As you leave here today, as you prepare for weekend activities, please stop to remember these young people. Remember that they gave the "last full measure" of which President Lincoln spoke. Remember their names; remember that 60 years after some of their deaths, friends and family still recall their loving ways. Remember that they helped to make our community rich in honor, in courage and in pride. It is only in our knowing and remembering that their legacy will continue to live. Young friends, please remember. Remember. Remember.