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Veterans honored at Wright Museum ceremony



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GUEST SPEAKER LAURIE JONES addressed the crowd at the Veterans Day Observance ceremony held at the Wright Museum on Nov. 11, as American Legion Post Commander and Marine Corp veteran Harold Chamberlin stands by. (Heather Terragni photo) (click for larger version)
November 18, 2010
WOLFEBORO — What better a setting for a Veterans Day observance ceremony than the solemn, earnest interior of the Wright Museum in Wolfeboro, a museum dedicated to the history of World War II?

Joined by a few veterans, both men and women representing several branches of service including the Army, Marines and Navy, a modest group of spectators gathered among the military vehicles and vintage artifacts in the museum's great room to honor those who've served in the armed forces and those who've lost their lives fighting for this country in order to protect its many freedoms.

Standing at a podium in front of the backdrop of a large American flag and flanked by American Legion Post 18 Commander and Marine Corps veteran Harold Chamberlain guest speaker Laurie Jones spoke passionately of her appreciation for all veterans.

Whether at a supermarket, driving through a tollbooth or on the street it is important to take the time to recognize and thank the veterans of our country, said Jones, something she makes an effort to do everyday.

When you shake the hand of a person who served the United State of America, Jones said, "Embrace the fact that they are the United States of America. These are the people who make it possible for every single one of us to stand up and speak our minds, to love and to live happily and freely."

Jones, a Wolfeboro resident whose father was a Navy man for 24 years and whose stepfather served in the military as well, shared a quote that she said brought her to tears when it was first shared with her.

"A veteran is someone who at one point in their life wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to, and including, life."

"Now that's powerful," she said of the passage before asking each of the attending veterans to stand up for an applause and continuing with a heartfelt list of reasons why veterans matter.

"Thank you for your sacrifice, for being there when our United States called on you, for making my life worth something, for fighting for me, for fighting for my children, for fighting for my friends, my family and especially my grandchildren, for making it possible for me to live here in this amazing town, in this amazing state, in this amazing United States of America, for giving me the ability to own my own business, for everything that you have done and continue to do for everyone of us, for my freedom."

Though she said her words of thanks to veterans in public aren't always welcome, what's important is that they're acknowledged.

"Every single one of you veterans out there are appreciated in some manner. You've touched our lives… people who have freely given their lives so that I can have a better one."

Also in attendance was New Hampshire Gold Star Mothers Memorial Association vice chair Debbie Murphy, who read a speech written by a fellow Gold Star mom. This mother had paid the ultimate price when she lost her son on June 4, 2006 to the War on Terror when the tank he was in was hit by an improvised explosive devise. Finding solace with the organization, whose members could relate to how she felt, she came across a letter written by another young soldier. In the letter he wrote, "Freedom is not free, but yet it is everyone's right to have. Ironic isn't it… [Freedom] is a cause that I and thousands of others stand ready to pay the ultimate sacrifice for because freedom is worth dying for no matter what country it is, and after the world is free, only then can we hope to have peace."

These words, while written by just one man, encapsulate the importance of why it is significant to remember and honor the sacrifices veterans today and throughout history have made not just America, but for all of mankind.

Heather Terragni can be reached at 569-3126 or hterragni@salmonpress.com

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