Howard Brown salutes the flag as it is dipped and raised over Memorial Day ceremonies in Belmont. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
Members of Belmont Boy Scout Troop 65 placed a wreath before the WWI monument during the Memorial Day proceedings in Belmont. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
May 30, 2018BELMONT — This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World I, and members of the Charles Kilborn American Legion Post 58 took time to pay a special tribute to those brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the "War to End All Wars."
The day began with a parade from Belmont Middle School to the WWI monument on Church Street where a crowd gathered to take part in the annual ceremonies.
Post Commander Richard Stanley led the event, saying it was a day to remember the fallen who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, the ones who never came home. He noted 35 brave men from Belmont who were lost in that war and later in the ceremony former Post Commander Steve Bracey and Lt. Col. Richard Nowak read their names with a solemn bell toll after each recognition.
Nowak, a member of Post 58, was also the guest speaker for the day, bringing a bit of harsh reality to the event. Beginning with a letter from a WWI soldier on his last wishes should he not return home, Nowak delved into the history of the first World War, where besides soldiers, 144 of them from New Hampshire, more than seven million civilians throughout Europe also lost their lives. His eye-opening speech didn't end there though. Nowak then presented a lengthy list of all conflicts, battles and wars that have occurred since the early 1900's where a staggering number of brave American men and women gave of their lives in the name of freedom.
"It seems like the 'War to End All Wars' really did not end them all," Nowak solemnly said.
Other contributors to the day were Boy Scout Troop 65, whose representatives laid a wreath at the WWI monument, and members of Girl Scout Troop 21532, who tossed flowers in the Tioga River in honor of those lost at sea.
Legion members Steve Bracey and Nowak raised the flag above Belmont's WWI monument, followed by a gun salute from the Belmont Police Department Honor Guard. Providing opening and closing prayers for the ceremonies were Post 58 Chaplain Maurice Tandy and Pastor Andy Barnes of Belmont Baptist Church.
The Belmont High School Band, under the direction of director Lauren Fountain, not only participated in the parade and ensuing ceremonies with their musical tributes, but band members Cody York and Brian Miles also played "Taps" and "Taps with Echo" after the gun salute.
The ceremony concluded with the new tradition of a community sing-a-long of "God Bless America," where everyone joined hands for the final patriotic tribute. This year, the singing was led by Grace Shaw.
Editor's note: For more photos from this year's Memorial Day parades in Belmont and Tilton, see page A2.